Anti Terror Raids Seen As Healthy First Steps
AL CHEB ALLIB, Iraq
Iraqi Army Division Soldiers with the Sixth Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division successfully prosecuted another dramatic and daring raid against insurgents on the ground in Iraq last Weds. The raid included three villages, and was one where the U.S. Transitional Military Forces were only in a support role.
As U.S. Forces prepare to take a step to the rear and hand over the leading roles in combat to Iraqi Military Forces over the next few years, this operation is being described as a big step and significant move toward Iraqi Forces achieving some autonomy and independence. Raids such as this are thought to help Iraqi forces in North Central to learn to operate relatively independently.
An arms depot and cache of illegal weapons thought to be in the arms of insurgents were supposed to be hidden inside each of the three villages targeted. Each village is located along a highway between Baghdad and the huge oil refinery located in Northern Iraq.
Nearly three hundred Iraqi Military and Police Forces participated in the operation, supported by a force of about two hundred U.S. soldiers. Iraqi troops were inserted into one part of the objective area, some of which were airlifted by U.S. Helicopters, while the rest traveled by foot. The mission yielded almost nothing in enemy fighters or arms, but it signals an auspicious start and was a great exercise for the Iraqi Brigade.
To my knowledge, this is the first brigade size operation dreamt up, staffed, and executed solely by Iraqi Forces,? stated Major Oscar Pintado. Major Pintado, a 37-year-old Army Officer from Puerto Rico, is the chief of the 0412 Military Transition Team. I knew it was not going to wind up looking pretty, but it did go pretty well, Pintado said.