CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq – Approximately 1,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers and 2,500 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors with Regimental Combat Team – 2 continue clearing the town of Karabilah of terrorists and weapons in Operation al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain).
The operation began Nov. 5 to restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraq-Syria border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout the al Qaim region.
Clearing of Karabilah is slow and dangerous work for the Iraqi Soldiers and Marines because of the high concentration of hidden bombs in the city.
Since the operation began seven days ago, 67 mines and improvised explosive devices have been discovered. These bombs are frequently placed in trash piles and buried in the soft dirt. On some occasions entire homes are rigged with explosives. Iraqi Soldiers and Marines today found a home booby-trapped with a 60-pound explosive charge and 10 large explosive rounds. Due to the danger posed by these explosives, they were destroyed in place.
Thirty weapons caches have been found and destroyed during Operation Steel Curtain. Many of these cache sites contained the materials for making IEDs. Artillery and mortar rounds are commonly used, along with a triggering device, in the construction of roadside bombs and car bombs while booby-trapping an entire home is a new terrorist tactic.
Now that the Iraqi Army and Marines have secured Husaybah from al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists, residents are returning to their homes. The displaced persons camp guarded and run by the Iraqi Army to provide food, water and shelter for Husaybah’s displaced citizens for the last week is emptying and is scheduled to close soon.
Power and utilities are being restored throughout Husaybah. Local workers are repairing the city’s power lines and electricity is estimated to be restored to the majority of the city within 24 hours. Telephone service was restored yesterday.
The 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 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