Weapons And Explosives Cache Discovered
A large network of tunnels that has been used previously by Al-Qaida to store weapons and launch attacks was discovered and destroyed December 16th. It was the first and only known to date discovery of tunnels in the Multi-National Division Center region.
Brave soldiers of the 7th Infantry Regiment and part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry discovered the tunnels as they were conducting a search near Iskandariyah. This area is located along the Euphrates River.
Just prior to discovering the tunnel system, they came across a number of IED components and explosives, and in searching further they discovered the tunnels. The network of tunnels was discovered to be extensive, and may have at one time housed anti aircraft guns and other ordinance.
Coalition air teams responded and fired three rockets and a single Hellfire Missile. After the initial response, an additional bombing run with two larger bombs was vectored in, and this succeeded in completely destroyed the tunnel network. The destruction was cheered by Iraqi and coalition forces on the ground, as destroying the tunnels was seen as another blow against insurgent forces.
Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers are operating in the area as part of Coalition efforts to drive out insurgents and extremists in MND-C. Their efforts are part of Operation Marne Roundup, which was launched December 15th. Construction of a new outpost, Patrol Base Khidr is scheduled.
Additional tunnels are not believed to exist in the area. The tunnel system discovered was quite a surprise, and it is thought that it will prove to be an isolated incident.