Monday, January 23, 2006

Iraqi- Coalition Forces Continue Operation Koa Canyon

Eight days of back-breaking searches through villages and fields along the western Euphrates River Valley have yielded thousands of pieces of ordnance as Iraqi soldiers and U. S. Marines continue Operation Koa Canyon in Iraq's Anbar province.

Aimed at isolating insurgents and their weapons, the combined Iraqi and U. S. force began the latest sweep Jan. 15 and have uncovered a staggering amount of weaponry. The soldiers and Marines are making their way inch by inch through caves, fields, wadis and islands in an attempt to disrupt the insurgents.

So far, the combined force has found and destroyed more than 4,300 artillery and mortar rounds, rockets and mines; 590 pounds of explosive powder; 10,000 rounds of various types of ammunition, ranging from small-arms to tank main gun rounds; 300 blasting caps; about 100 feet of detonation cord; and several working machine guns and mortar systems.

"Every piece of ordnance that is uncovered is one less potential IED that may be used against Iraqi civilians, and Iraqi security and Coalition forces," Marine Col. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable,) said.

McKenzie also said that the future of the Iraqi army is bright, based upon the individual courage of Iraqi soldiers. "The basic ingredient is courage, and these Iraqi soldiers are showing it," he said.

The Iraqi soldiers are with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division, and the U. S. Marines are with the 22nd MEU.

(Above courtesy of DoD - American Forces Press Service and taken from a MNF-I news release.)

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