Saturday, January 28, 2006

Coalition forces wrap up Operation Koa Canyon

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HIT, Iraq– Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Marines finished Operation Wadi Aljundi (Koa Canyon) along the Western Euphrates River Valley Jan. 27 after finding and destroying 45 weapons caches and detaining 20 suspected insurgents.

The cordon-and-knock operation began Jan. 15 north of Hit along the Euphrates River in an effort to disrupt insurgent activity and to root out their weapons stores. No Iraqi or Coalition forces were injured during the operation, although the force did uncover several improvised explosive devices along the way.

Iraqi soldiers and Coalition forces worked well together said Lt. Col. Drew Smith, the commanding officer of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines. Smith said that, as the operation progressed, so did the level of cooperation among the Iraqis and Americans. “The Iraqi Army soldiers were totally integrated with BLT 1/2 Marines. It was a team effort,” said Smith.

Elements of 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Infantry Division and Smith’s reinforced infantry battalion along with MEU Service Support Group 22 managed to keep insurgents off balance and unable to tap into their stores of weapons stashed along the Euphrates.

From village to village, the force located and destroyed thousands of discovered artillery shells, mortars rounds and other rockets. Complete mortar systems were found, in addition to the numerous automatic weapons and nearly 11,000 rounds of small and large caliber ammunition. Hundreds of pounds of explosives were also uncovered and destroyed. One of the sites uncovered was a small building that was being used as an IED-making facility. More than 250 IED components and various explosives were found at the shack, which was subsequently destroyed.

The Iraqi Army battalion and 22nd MEU (SOC) are conducting counterinsurgency operations in Al Anbar province under the tactical control of the
2nd Marine Division. For more information about the 22nd MEU (SOC), visit their web site at
(Above courtesy of MNF-I and taken from Press Release A060128a)

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