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Monday, September 24, 2007

‘Grey Wolf’ continues pursuit of al-Qaeda in Diyala Province

RELEASE No. 20070920-13
September 20, 2007

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

DIYALA, Iraq – Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces aggressively targeted and pursued al-Qaeda elements in Diyala province, in support of 25th Infantry Division’s Operation Lightning Hammer II, a division-wide operation to deny terrorist elements the ability to harm the population.

“Through Operations Arrowhead Ripper, Lightning Hammer and most recently, Lightning Hammer II, the Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces have made it clear that al-Qaida has no home in Diyala and will be persistently targeted,” said Col. David W. Sutherland, commander, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

The operations, which began Sept. 4 in Diyala and focused on Baqouba, Muqdadiya and Balad Ruz, resulted in 34 terrorists killed, 28 suspected terrorists detained, 17 weapons caches discovered, three vehicle-borne and six house-borne improvised explosive devices discovered and destroyed, and 44 IEDs reduced.

“Al-Qaeda is on the run and is attempting to conduct attacks as a systemic response to our offensive operations,” Sutherland said. “Ultimately, they will fail and be brought to justice,” he continued.

Soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Division, partnered with Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted simultaneous, continuous operations across Diyala to deny al-Qaeda freedom of movement and remove their support bases.
Operation Saber Hammer II, an ongoing operation which began Sept. 17 in the Muqdadiya region, played a large role in the overall operation throughout the province.

Through a very thorough and detailed search in villages, such as Baloor and Hy al Askry, Soldiers from 6-9 Armored Reconnaissance Squadron and 3rd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, have successfully disrupted al-Qaeda in the area by killing 10 terrorists and detaining 14.

Also, Operation Woodshed II, conducted Sept. 19 by Soldiers from 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, targeted enemy south of Balad Ruz, resulting in 12 terrorists killed.

“As operations north, east and west of Baqouba continue, our goal is to provide a stable and secure environment to the people in those regions, thus setting the conditions to allow the government to focus on restoring essential services,” said Sutherland. “Al-Qaeda will not hinder the progress we are seeing in Diyala.”


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