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Operation Iron Hammer Begins, East of Hit, Iraq

By Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq -Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Marines, Sailors and Soldiers began operations near Hit in the Hai Al Becker region.

The aim of the operation is to clear the region of al-Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents and establish a secure environment for the upcoming National Elections, Dec. 15.

Approximately 500 Iraqi Army soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division and 1,500 Marines and Sailors from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit along with 500 Soldiers from 2nd Battalion-114th Field Artillery Regiment are conducting Operation Matraqa Hadidia (Iron Hammer) east of Hit, approximately 170 km from Baghdad.

The Hai Al Becker region is suspected to be an al-Qaeda in Iraq safe area and base of operations for the manufacture of vehicle car bombs, roadside bombs. It is also believed to be a stopping point for insurgents, as they transit the 'rat lines' down the Euphrates River from Syria into the interior of Iraq.

In early July, Iraqi and U.S. Forces established long-term security presence in the city of Hit during Operation Saif (Sword). During Saif, few insurgents were located; however, a score of weapons caches have been discovered in the region.

Operation Iron Hammer will clear the area on the eastern side of the Euphrates River, an area not typically patrolled by Iraqi and U.S. Forces.

Routine updates concerning Operation Iron Hammer will be provided as additional information becomes available.

Source: USMC

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