CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq – Iraqi Army Soldiers and Marines, Soldiers and Sailors continue Operation al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) in the al Qaim region today.
Construction of bases for the Iraqi Army and U.S. military’s long-term security presence is steadily progressing in Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi. Simultaneously, Iraqi Army Soldiers and Marines continue patrolling to ensure terrorists do not return. These patrols also involve detailed searches, looking for hidden weapons caches and deadly improvised explosive devices. Approximately 120 bombs and mines have been located over the course of Operation Steel Curtain.
Three aspects of the operation which makes Steel Curtain different from previous operations in the western Euphrates River Valley are increased Iraqi Army participation, immediate establishment of long-term security presence, and Iraqi Army Soldiers taking the lead in security and care of the citizens temporarily displaced by the operation.
Approximately 1,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers took part in Operation Steel Curtain. During Operation Romhe (Spear), conducted in this same area last June, fewer than 100 Iraqi Soldiers took part.
Today, more than 15,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers are stationed in al Anbar province and recently locally-recruited Soldiers are joining and operating with Iraqi Army units and U.S. forces. The Desert Protectors, recruited from the al Qaim region, fought alongside Iraqi Army Soldiers and Coalition forces in Operation Steel Curtain.
Iraqi Army Soldiers provided security and helped facilitate the care and well-being of residents displaced from their homes due to the operation. Iraqi Army Soldiers provided perimeter security and screened displaced civilians to weed out al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists trying to infiltrate the shelter areas. Iraqi Soldiers also helped to distribute thousands of meals, blankets and health and sanitation items to their fellow citizens.
USAID, the principal U.S. agency which extends assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms conducted an initial fact-finding assessment today in order to further assist the Iraqi government in restoring normalcy in the western Euphrates River Valley.
Ubaydi residents are currently moving out of the camp established by Iraqi Army Soldiers and U.S. forces and back into the city.
Operation Steel Curtain continues.
This offensive is part of the larger Operation Sayaid (Hunter), designed to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout al Anbar and to establish a permanent Iraqi Army security presence in the al Qaim region.
Initial story: Operation Steel Curtain Launched by U.S. and Iraqi Forces and links to all the updates we have.
Source: Multi-National Force-Iraq