U.S. and Iraqi troops are rebuilding a combat outpost in Mosul that was destroyed by a truck bomb last month, killing 13 Iraqi troops and wounding 35 others.
The base, called Combat Outpost Inman, is in the western part of Mosul, a key city in the northern part of Iraq that is often described as al-Qaida in Iraq’s last urban stronghold. In January, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved Iraqi reinforcements to the city and said a “decisive” battle would be fought against the Sunni insurgent group.
Within days, U.S. commanders were softening those comments, saying the process of clearing Mosul would be long and methodical.
Both U.S. and Iraqi officials have said that many insurgents in Mosul had fled there from Baghdad and Anbar provinces, after additional U.S. troops were sent to those areas.
In Mosul, as in other key cities around the country, U.S. troops began moving with Iraqi forces into smaller outposts like Inman. The smaller outposts put them in closer proximity with the Iraqi population and moved them into neighborhoods that did not have a permanent security presence.
The rebuilding of Inman is largely being done by the 2nd Iraqi Army Division and the U.S. Army’s 232nd Engineer Company.
“The Iraqi army has been great,” 1st Lt. Nathan Foust of the 232nd Engineer Company, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, said in a news release.
“We had their two bucket loaders ... all day helping with the filling. We only had one [bucket loader] out here, so it was a huge help. It would have taken a lot longer without them.”
Steps are being taken to improve security at the outpost, including by improving the roads and firming up the surface streets, officials said.