CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq – Iraqi Army Soldiers and U.S. Marines, Sailors and Soldiers are in the fourth day of fighting along the Iraq-Syria border in the town of Husaybah.
The objectives of Operation al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) are to restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraqi-Syrian border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout al Qaim region.
Coalition and Iraqi forces continue to detain terrorists as they fight their way through the city. A number of the detainees have been foreign fighters who originated from various countries within Asia and Africa.
The majority of foreign fighters come to Iraq through Syria where they cross the border into Iraq and meet with members of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the leadership of which is also comprised of mostly foreign nationals.
Until Operation Steel Curtain, Husaybah was an important command and control center where these foreign fighters were trained and dispatched throughout the country to wage war against the Iraqi people and Coalition Forces.
There are approximately 180 men being detained for questioning about suspected ties to the insurgency. The overall percentage of foreign fighters that make up that total is unavailable at this time.
On the southern outskirts of Husaybah Nov.8, Marines discovered a corpse of a man who had been bound, gagged and shot through the head. The identity of the man is unknown.
The scout platoons assigned to the combat units clearing the city, commonly known as Desert Protectors, continue to assist both Iraqi and U.S. forces. Because of their familiarity with Husaybah, the region, local tribes and dialects, these scouts are able to pick out suspicious individuals for further questioning. Those individuals not associated with the insurgency will be released.
This is the first operation in which these locally recruited and specially trained scout platoons have been employed. As the number of Iraqi Army Soldiers grows in al Anbar, more locally recruited Soldiers will swell their ranks. Currently, there are more than 15,000 Iraqi Army Soldiers serving in al Anbar.
Over the past four days, Iraqi Army Soldiers and Marines have found numerous weapons caches in Husaybah, 17 of which were substantial in size. Weapons, munitions and bomb-making material for the construction of deadly roadside and car bombs have been some of the more commonly found items at the cache sites. One of the caches discovered in central Husaybah today consisted of large amounts of medical supplies and rocket propelled grenades and launchers.
The offensive is part of Operation Sayaid (Hunter), designed to deny al Qaeda in Iraq the ability to operate in the Euphrates River Valley and to establish a permanent security presence along the Syrian border.
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