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Published:June 19th, 2007 09:28 EST
al-Qaeda,  Task Force Lightning strikes

al-Qaeda, Task Force Lightning strikes

By SOP newswire

BAQOUBA, Iraq " Task Force Lightning commenced Operation Arrowhead Ripper today in a large-scale effort to eliminate al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating in Baqouba and its surrounding areas."
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The 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, launched the offensive with a quick-strike nighttime air assault earlier today.
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By daylight, attack helicopters and ground forces had engaged and killed 22 anti-Iraqi forces in and around Baqouba.
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"The end state is to destroy the al-Qaeda influences in this province and eliminate their threat against the people," said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general, operations, 25th Infantry Division. "That is the number one, bottom-line, up-front, in-your-face, task and purpose."
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Approximately 10,000 Soldiers, with a full complement of attack helicopters, close air support, Strykers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, are taking part in Arrowhead Ripper, which is still in its opening stages. Elements of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, and the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, are also participating in the operation."
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"One of the keys as we initiate combat actions and operations here is the newly formed Diyala Operations Center," Bednarek said." ""It serves as an integration center that will coordinate all activities in Diyala " the police, the army and Coalition Forces from Task Force Lightning."
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"The key significance, though, is getting the Iraqi ministries engaged to provide fundamental goods and services, such as food, fuel, displaced persons support, and education," Bednarek continued." "The governor will have oversight and the people will start to see improved basic services which will build the trust and confidence of the people not only in the provincial government, but in the central government as well."

Task Force Lightning strikes al-Qaeda
Multi-National Division " North PAO