Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Golden Dragons capture mortar team

2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) Public Affairs

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq — A 120mm mortar system and terrorist cell were captured southwest of Sadr Al-Yusufiyah, Iraq, March 19.
Soldiers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) ran into four terrorists with AK-47s at about 1:30 p.m. local time. The terrorists fled.
The men had seemed to be guarding a home; Soldiers entered and questioned 13 local nationals in the home while other Soldiers of the team pursued the fleeing terrorists.
In the house, the Soldiers discovered two 120mm mortar rounds and three 82mm rounds, as well as a number of hand grenades.
Approximately a half-hour later, the Soldiers found a 120mm mortar tube in a truck parked at a house nearby. In the truck were also found two 120mm rounds, a loaded PKC machine gun with 200 rounds of ammunition, a mortar sighting device, nine 120mm charges, and 30 Russian-made shape charges.
As the terrorists fled, they left many objects in a nearby reed-line, which the Soldiers seized. The objects included four 82mm mortar rounds, two load-bearing vests full of loaded magazines, two hand grenades, two 82mm mortar charges, a video camera, a black ski mask, a DVD and a bag of tools.
In the second house, the Soldiers discovered five 82mm mortar fuses, two AK-47s, seven full magazines for AK-47s, a new global positioning system unit, a mortar compass, a calculator, a piece of paper with mortar tables on it, two notebooks, a video cassette, an unknown rifle, and a bag of electrical components.
“We’ve been targeting this mortar cell for awhile,” said Maj. Web Wright, a native of Annapolis, Md., and a spokesman for the 2nd “Commando” BCT. “They’ve been launching attacks throughout our area of operations, aimed at (coalition forces) but in a lot of cases they have been injuring civilians as well, so we’ve put a lot of priority on capturing them.
“Capturing 120mm mortar system is significant,” Wright continued. “When you find the tube it strips away their capability to attack, whereas if you find a cache of rounds, although it takes ammunition from them, that tube can still be used again. This time we captured the tube and the people who are trained to use it. This is a very significant event.”
The cell was suspected to have attacked Soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, earlier that day.

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