Baghdad Operations Continue;
Several Weapons Caches Found

(AFPS) U.S. and Iraqi security forces continued clearing operations in Baghdad, while other coalition and Iraqi security forces discovered and destroyed several enemy weapons caches in the past few days, officials said.

Nearly 1,600 U.S. and Iraqi security forces teamed up for a second day of anti-terrorist operations in Baghdad’s Mansour district, officials said. During this sweep, U.S. soldiers with the 2nd Infantry Division’s 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team rescued a kidnap victim. The soldiers also found a weapons cache that yielded several AK-47 rifles, ammunition, mortar rounds and other ordnance.

Also, U.S. troops operating northwest of Taji arrested seven suspected al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists and destroyed an enemy weapons cache during two raids, officials said, and U.S. soldiers detained five more suspected terrorists in Mosul during another raid.

American soldiers found two large ammunition caches esterday; one cache was discovered near Mushadah and the other was found near Radwaniyah. Both caches were destroyed by explosive ordnance disposal teams, officials said.

Both caches contained machine-gun ammunition, rocket-propelled grenade rounds, mortar rounds and other ordnance, officials said.

“Discovery of caches like this impedes the terrorists’ ability to harm coalition forces and Iraqi civilians,” said Army Maj. Web Wright, a spokesman for the U.S. 10th Mountain Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which participated in the Mushadah operation.

Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers found another large weapons cache during combined operations in Zubaida on March 21. That cache contained mortar rounds, blasting caps, grenades, and other materials suitable for use in the making of improvised explosive devices, officials said. The cache was destroyed.

Iraqi National Police found a weapons cache during a search of the Al Baneen Mosque in southeast Rashid on March 21, officials said. Iraqi civilians tipped off authorities about suspicious activity in the area. The police confiscated the cache while U.S. soldiers cordoned off the area. The cache yielded several AK-47 rifles, some rocket-propelled grenade launchers, a spool of copper wire, and other bomb-making materials.

In other Iraq news, terrorists detonated explosives to damage a bridge in western Kirkuk province March 21, officials said. About 36 feet of the bridge located near the village of Shumayt was rendered unusable by the explosions, officials said, noting the bridge is much-used as a crossing over the Zaab River.

“The real effect may be shortages in supplies that impact the daily life in the local villages,” said Mohammed Mushi, a senior local Iraqi official.

However, the damage to the bridge likely will be repaired within weeks, said Army Maj. Michael Benson, an American military engineer officer with the 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

(Source: MFI and MCI)