CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq -Iraqi Army soldiers and Marines, Soldiers and Sailors with Regimental Combat Team -2 continue Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) in the town of Ubaydi Nov. 15.
It is suspected that many of the terrorists who are now fighting in Ubaydi fled from Husaybah and Karabilah, the first two cities that were secured by Iraqi and Coalition Forces at the beginning of the operation. While the fighting has been sporadic, it has been characterized by commanders on the ground as some of the heaviest since Operation Steel Curtain began Nov. 5. Intelligence reports indicate that the strong resistance to the Iraqi and Coalition push into the city is due in large part to the fact that terrorists believe they are trapped and have nowhere else to go.
An additional 30 terrorists have been killed since last night, for an overall total of approximately 80 killed since entering the city yesterday morning. Most of those terrorists were targeted by coalition air strikes, although some were killed in direct small-arms fire engagements with Iraqi and Coalition Forces on the ground.
Iraqi and Coalition Forces continue to clear the city house-by-house, occasionally encountering buildings that are rigged with explosives and triggered to detonate upon entering the building. Numerous weapons caches have also been seized, to include several that contained suicide vests and bomb making material. Overall, there have been 36 weapons caches found and destroyed during Operation Steel Curtain.
Iraqi and Coalition Forces have also discovered numerous improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines during the operation, the vast majority of which were destroyed by Coalition Forces before they could inflict any damage. The precise locations of many IEDs were revealed by detained terrorists. There have been a total of 107 IEDs and mines discovered during the course of Operation Steel Curtain.
Several detainees were captured trying to sneak out of the area by crawling among a flock of sheep. Overall, there have been approximately 150 terrorists detained since Operation Steel Curtain began 10 days ago.
Ubaydi is located on the banks of the Euphrates River, 20 km from the Syrian border and separated into two main areas, Old and New Ubaydi. Old Ubaydi has been cleared and now the Iraqi Army and Coalition forces are focusing on clearing the al-Qaeda in Iraq stronghold of New Ubaydi.
The intent of Operation Steel Curtain is to restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraq-Syria border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout the Al Qa’im region. The towns of Husaybah and Karabilah were cleared earlier in the operation which began Nov. 5 and a permanent security presence has been established. Approximately 1,000 Iraqi Army soldiers and 2,500 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors are participating in Operation Steel Curtain.
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 presence in the Al Qa’im 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