March 7th, 2007 05:05 EST
Sadr City Security operations continue
CAMP LIBERTY — A combined force of Iraqi Police and Multi-National Division–Baghdad troops completed a second day of security operations at the eastern Baghdad district of Sadr City Monday.
Members of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division conducted security operations with their Iraqi counterparts and reported no hostile contact for a second day in an area known to be a stronghold of Muqtada al-Sadr, the extremist leader of rogue elements known for extra-judicial killings and attacks against Coalition forces. Some residents seemed genuinely pleased to see the troops arrive, as small children were seen smiling and waving to Coalition troops.
"It's a promising first start,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., commanding general of MND-B. “We sense there is an opportunity opening here that we want to immediately take advantage of while working with the Iraqi security forces and the people of Sadr City.”
The citizens of Sadr City appear to welcome the respite from recent violence over the last few months. The killings have fallen off from more than 200 in December and January to less than 20 during the past 30 days as the new security plan for the Iraqi capital is carried out by newly arrived troops.
“Although much too early to tell,” Fil noted, “we sense that the people of the city are ready for a change."
At the conclusion of the security operations, a joint security station will be established in the district police station for Sadr City. This security station will allow a 24-hour presence in the Sadr City district and facilitate coordination between all security forces.
Fil said the key to future success is the newly-established Baghdad Operational Command, and the close coordination and cooperation that has been established.
“The Baghdad Operational Command became fully operational on the first of this month (March) and they are off to a great start,” Fil said. “Lt. Gen. Abud is directing and controlling Iraqi security forces throughout Baghdad.
“We are coordinating between our commands in a way that is having an immediate effect on the streets,” he said. “Feedback from the Iraqis has been positive and we feel at this time we are on the right track."
(By Master Sgt. Dave Larsen, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)