Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Soldiers find caches, detain wanted terrorists

Sgt. 1st Class Angela McKinzie
2nd BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (LI) PAO
Multi-National Division – Center

SAID ABDULLA CORRIDOR, Iraq — Since July, Coalition and Iraqi forces have been working with concerned local citizens to rid the area of al-Qaeda.
Recently, concerned citizens provided information to Coalition Forces working in the area.
After receiving the tip, Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), out of Fort Drum, N.Y., and 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, teamed up for Operation Eagle Chancellorsville Sept. 21 in the Said Abdulla Corridor.
The operation, which was intended to deny enemy safe haven within 2-15 FAR’s area of operations, yielded multiple caches and the capture of suspected al-Qaeda members in the area.
“The local population has pledged its support by moving alongside IA and U.S. forces,” said 1st Lt. Dave Kendzior, a platoon leader with 2-15 FAR. “They have been instrumental in leading us to caches and buildings that al-Qaeda have been hiding in.”
Since the increasing support of the concerned local citizens, al-Qaeda has continued to try to hide weapons in different places, but they have not been successful.
During this mission, U.S. and Iraqi Soldiers discovered weapons caches hidden in cemeteries.
The caches consisted of 12 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, a 152mm artillery round, an improvised explosive device, three PKC machine guns, two AK-47 assault rifles, a Dragonov sniper rife with a scope, four RPG launchers, five mortar sights, 70 mortar primers, 20 mortar charges, a 60mm mortar round, a camera flash IED initiator, three Iraqi army uniforms, three Kevlar helmets, 11 mortar fuses, 19 RPG boosters, two bolt cutters, an aid bag, a hand-held radio charger, three Global Positioning Systems, 3,000 rounds of PKC ammunition, various IED components, a roll of copper wire and two ammunition vests.
Significant in the cache finds were the IA uniforms that al-Qaeda members use to confuse the concerned local citizens.
“In our area we have noticed an increase in the local populace’s willingness to assist Coalition Forces in ridding the area of al-Qaeda,” said Cpt. Blake Keil, a battery commander with 2-15 FAR.
Aside from finding the caches, Soldiers detained three terror suspects who were on the IA and U.S. target list.
“Concerned citizens have not only led us to caches, but to members of al-Qaeda,” Kendzior said.
With the increasing numbers of concerned local citizens, 2-15 FAR and 4-6 IA will coordinate to rid the area of any further terrorist activity.
“Because of the true partnership between 2-15 FAR and 4-6 IA disrupting al-Qaeda in the area, we have forced them to find refuge somewhere else,” Kendzior said.

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