Thursday, December 20, 2007
Intelligence provided by Iraqi tips led U.S. troops to a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq safe haven and operating bases. Evidence of murder, torture, and intimidation against local villagers was found throughout the area.
During the operation, U.S. Forces and Iraqi Security Forces were involved in multiple engagements with groups of armed men. They discovered what appeared to be a detention facility. As they continued to clear the area, they found several bodies and eventually uncovered 26 human remains in multiple mass graves next to execution sites.
In the same area a torture complex was found, consisting of three detention facilities with one doubling as both a headquarters building and torture facility. The buildings contained chains on the walls and ceilings, a bed still hooked up to an electrical system, and several blood-stained items.
U.S. Forces also located and destroyed nine weapons caches anti-aircraft weapons, sniper rifles, more than 65 machine guns and pistols, 50 grenades, a surface-to-air missile launcher and platform, 98 personnel mines, 170 pipe bombs, 130 pounds of homemade explosives, 21 rocket propelled grenades, numerous mortar tubes and rounds.
Operation Iron Reaper has been ongoing over the last few weeks across northern Iraq.“Operation Iron Reaper has been successful. We will continue to pursue al-Qaeda across our area, and they will find no safe haven in the north of Iraq,” said Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commanding general, Multi-National Division - North.