U.S., Iraq joined forces in pre-election raids
BAGHDAD — More than 100 joint raids by American and Iraqi forces helped keep Baghdad free of attacks during Saturday’s provincial elections, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond said Tuesday during a lunch with reporters.
Iraqi and American forces conducted combined operations against 111 different "deliberate targets" in the 72-hour period before election day, said Hammond, the Multi-National Division—Baghdad commander.
Units hit all the targets within a concentrated period just before the vote in order to cause maximum disruption to any violence enemy fighters had planned for election day, he said.
Hammond would not disclose how many people were arrested. He also would not speculate about the impact of the raids or go into any details about whether any specific attacks had been planned.
He did say that the suspects had the capability and intention to mount attacks, including car bombs and suicide vest bombs. The targets included "people that in some way or shape or form could be connected to such threats."
"I don’t know how big of a difference" it made, Hammond said. "It disrupted folks out there who had intentions to disrupt the elections."
Iraqi human intelligence sources generated much of the information necessary for the raids, he said. All the operations were conducted through the Iraqi legal process.
"I think Iraqi security forces proved their credibility on election day," he said. "It was the best performance I’ve seen in the Iraqi security forces in 15 months — bar none."