October 11th, 2007 10:24 EST
IA, CF shut down terrorist group The Council
BALAD RUZ, Iraq " After a nine-day operation in the Turki Village area, soldiers from 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army, together with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, defeated The Council, " a known terrorist group which has historically targeted families and tribes with violence throughout the region. Coalition Forces continue to maintain a presence to further the peace and stability of the area.
The group, made up of former Ba`ath Regime members, Al Qaeda and Sunni extremists, refused to participate in any political dialogue and preferred attacking innocent civilians in the Diyala province, killing as many as 39 civilians in one kidnapping and mass murder in November, " said Col. David W. Sutherland, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division commander, and senior U.S. Army officer in the Diyala province. More than 50 of the council`s terrorists responsible for the November murder of 39 civilian were captured during the recent operations.
The fear of the people and the weapons used by these individuals are used to attack the core of Iraqi values and beliefs. They are interested in preventing individual human rights and freedoms that the people of this region want so much, " Sutherland said.
The families and tribes that form the basis of this society recognize this achievement, Sutherland added. Phone calls to report criminal activity to the Police Coordination Center has increased 131 percent since the beginning of the operation.
After seizing a safe house, with a white flag signifying surrender, detaining dozens of middle-aged males and questioning local residents, the defeat of The Council " was validated.
This defeat has been achieved through offensive operations designed to isolate the terrorists away from the population; and by using the Iraqi Army, supported by U.S. Air Force, Special Operations Forces, and elements of the 3-1 Cav to bring the terrorists to justice, he said.
Additionally, non-kinetic engagements using psychological operations, information operations, and civil military operations were brought to bear to shape and sustain the battlefield, " Sutherland said.
Through questioning, we learned that The Council had a plan to attempt to defeat our forces, " said Lt. Col. Andrew Poppas, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment commander. However, due to our kinetic capabilities, we were able to defeat the enemy and broke his will to fight. They admitted in questioning that our forces beat them. "
During the operation, which began Jan. 4 with a combined air and ground assault, Soldiers unearthed numerous weapons caches and killed approximately 100 terrorists throughout the Turki Village area.
Dozens of supply caches included more than 1,150 Katusha rockets, more than 1,000 rocket-propelled grenades, 170 anti-tank missiles, anti-tank mines, more than 1,000 small-arms munitions, 1,050 DSHKA rounds and sensitive terrorist documents.
Since the defeat of The Council, " Soldiers have been focusing on interacting with the local populous, maintaining a presence and reinforcing the security and stability of the region. The IA will maintain a permanent presence, while CF are focusing on reconstructing roads, essential services and other basic services to help the people of Turki.
The populous continues to express their support for the Iraqi Security Forces, " said Poppas.
This operation is already having an impact on the political framework within Diyala, " said Lt. Col. Scott Jackson, the deputy brigade commander. Elements of different tribes are moving to the political discussion that have been afraid to voice their opinions due to fear imposed by the terrorists. "
Governor Ra`ad Rasheed Hameed Al-Mullah Jawad Al-Tamimi said, I am very proud of how the Iraqi Army performed during this operation; they demonstrated skill and determination in the challenging conditions. "
Defeating the terrorists south of Balad Ruz has made conditions in Baqubah, as well as the whole province better, " Ra`ad said.
Of the over 25 major tribes and 100 sub-tribes in the province, many are now seeing the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces and gaining confidence in them as a professional force to be reckoned with, " Sutherland said.
The long-term end state is that the local population supports the Iraqi and Diyala government due to their complete disdain of anti-Iraqi forces, " he said. This action drives a wedge between the terrorists and the people because they understand that the terrorists` ring of terror has been defeated by their own forces. "
The sects within the area have the opportunity to interact with a common respect without fear or intimidation, " said Jackson.
This operation clearly was a significant tactical success for CF, IA, and most importantly, the citizens of Turki and surrounding areas, " said Sutherland. The long-term affects we hope to achieve are stability for economic growth, increased political action for all parties and self-reliance for the Iraqi government and security forces. "