Saturday, April 19, 2008

Iraq: On Ground Updates - Saturday, April 19, 2008

* Iraq: On Ground Updates *
Operation Charge of the Knights...
Begins Phase 3 in Hyyaniyah
, April 19, 2008

Charge of the Knights begins phase 3 in Hyyaniyah
Operation Saulat al Fursan, or Charge of the Knights, began a new phase of operations April 19.

Phase 3 of the operation focuses on the criminal militia strongholds within the Hyyaniyah district area. Iraqi Army soldiers from the 1st and 14th Infantry Divisions are conducting the deliberate clearance operation.

The operation began at approximately 6 a.m. when British artillery and US aircraft released ordnance against known criminal rocket and mortar sites west of Hyyaniyah.

British and American Military Transition Teams are working alongside Iraqi Army units to provide leaders with advice, access to surveillance and the ability to “call for fire” and other support, if needed.

“As with the earlier phases of Operation Charge of the Knights, this remains an Iraqi led, planned and executed mission,” said Major Tom Holloway, the British Army’s spokesman in southern Iraq. “Coalition troops are ready to provide support to Iraqi Security Forces as requested and required.”

Operation Charge of the Knights began on March 24th.

From press release #20080416-06 by Multi-National Corps-Iraq - Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
Coalition Troops in Iraq Capture Special Groups Leader

From April 18, 2008
U.S. soldiers captured a man suspected of leading an Iranian-backed Special Groups cell in southern Baghdad's Rashid District yesterday, military officials reported.

The detainee is linked to several area attacks, officials said. He was caught during military operations conducted in the Abu T'shir neighborhood.

"The operation has been going extremely well," said Army Maj. Dave Olson, a 1st Brigade Combat Team spokesman. The soldiers are creating a safe and secure environment for the district's 1.2 million residents, he said.

"We will target and bring to justice those criminals who disregard the rule of law and who obviously have no regard for the welfare of innocent Iraqi citizens," Olson declared.

In other news, a tipster led U.S. and Iraqi soldiers to a weapons cache in Shubayshen Village, south of Baghdad, April 16.

The soldiers spent several hours digging up the munitions, which consisted of about 600 tank rounds.

This find was part of Operation Marne Piledriver, an ongoing effort in which Iraqi forces are taking the lead in removing insurgents with the help of coalition forces.

In separate news, the Iraqi city of Kirkuk transferred the last of its traffic control points from military control to police jurisdiction during a ceremony held just north of the city April 14.

The transfer featured numerous Iraqi government, police and military officials.

“Today's handover demonstrates that Kirkuk is operating under the rule of law, not martial law, and that is what we are marking here today,” said Army Lt. Col. Kevin Brown, commander of the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade.

Kirkuk’s citizens should realize “that their police are fully capable of providing them safety and security,” Brown said.

From a news release by DoD’s American Forces Press Service that was compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases
About Photo: U.S. Army soldiers from prepare to breach a door during a search for weapons caches in Baghdad, Iraq, April 16, 2008. The soldiers are assigned to Company E, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lester Colley...

* brings us this report this morning and it begins like this... There have been intense clashes between Shi'ite militants and joint U.S.-Iraqi forces in several parts of Iraq... In the southern city of Al-Basrah, Iraqi troops backed by U.S. and British forces launched an operation in the city's Al-Hayaniyah district, where radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's forces are concentrated... Separately, fighting continued through the night in Baghdad's Al-Sadr City neighborhood. Fresh clashes between government forces and al-Sadr's Al-Mahdi Army were also reported in the city of Al-Nasiriyah... Iraqi authorities say they have taken control of the Al-Hayaniyah district in Al-Basrah after several hours of fighting...
Read the full report at link below...
Renewed Clashes With Shi'ite Militias In Iraq

* has this take... Mehdi Army fighters clashed with Iraqi security forces in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya late Friday night and into Saturday morning, an Interior Ministry official said... Earlier, at least 12 people were killed and at least 71 wounded in clashes between Iraqi forces and Mehdi militiamen in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, Interior and hospital sources said...
Read the rest at link below...
Iraqi forces fight Mehdi Army

* brings us this report... Hardline Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened on Saturday to declare "open war" if the crackdown by Iraqi and US forces against his loyalists is not stopped... "I am giving my last warning and my word to the Iraqi government to take the path of peace and stop violence against its own people, otherwise it will be a government of destruction," Sadr said in a statement his office issued in the holy city of Najaf... "If it does not stop the militias that have infiltrated the government, then we will declare a war until liberation."... Sadr also lashed out at the Iraqi government's alliance with the US military...
Read the rest at link below...
Iraq's Sadr warns of 'open' war

* Xinhua News Agency reports...
U.S. and Iraqi troops are building concrete walls through Baghdad's Shiite bastion of Sadr City in an attempt to prevent militias from firing mortars and rockets on the Green Zone...
U.S., Iraqi troops build concrete walls in Baghdad's Sadr City

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