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Coalition forces killed four insurgents, held 24 people and discovered numerous bombs of different types in the Diyala River Valley in the past week, U.S. officials say.

The efforts were part of Operation Raider Harvest, which is part of the countrywide Operation Phantom Phoenix, designed to root out insurgencies driven out by the “surge” of troops in central Iraq.

In the valley, forces discovered and cleared 13 bombs, 10 car bombs, four houses rigged with bombs and 15 weapons caches since last Tuesday.

In Sherween Village alone, a small community about 35 miles northeast of Baqouba, coalition forces discovered four weapons caches and a structure locals confirmed had been used as an al-Qaida in Iraq prison and torture facility, although not recently.

The forces destroyed four buildings that were rigged with explosives and a river-crossing point used by insurgents, officials said. Several bombs were found and destroyed on roadways during the operation.

At least one joint combat outpost will be built in the Diyala River Valley, according to U.S. officials.

Lt. Col. James Brown, executive officer of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, the unit conducting Raider Harvest, said a “chain of communication” will be established between the valley and Muqdadiyah, which he said was the closest and biggest urban center.

“That chain was not there before, so the local people were ripe for AQI to fill that need for them,” he was quoted as saying in the news release.

The Iraqi army and police will start patrolling the area and “here shortly, you will see the linkage between the provincial leaders and the local leaders,” he said.

Six Vilseck, Germany-based soldiers were killed Wednesday in Sinsil, Iraq, in Diyala province after entering a booby-trapped home. They were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division.


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