July 2nd, 2007 05:07 EST
ISF, CF ensure Baqouba safe for local residents
BAQOUBA, Iraq – Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces continued to methodically clear booby-trapped structures on July 1st as Operation Arrowhead Ripper entered its 13th day.
As ISF and CF continue to clear al-Qaeda out of Baqouba, they have discovered many booby-trapped structures in the Mujema section of town that were left behind by al-Qaeda as they attempted to flee. These structures, many of which are houses, pose a great threat to the local residents and are too dangerous to be disarmed.
“The house-borne IED threat here is unlike anywhere else in Iraq at the present,” said Col. Steve Townsend, commander of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. “We have encountered 24 HBIEDs in the past 11 days.”
ISF and CF have been making every attempt to render safe any houses they can and have only destroyed structures in which there is no hope of saving it without undue risk, said Townsend.
“When al-Qaeda rigs these homes with explosives, it not only deprives Iraqi families of a place to live but also endangers the entire neighborhood,” said Col. Gary Patton, Chief of Staff, Task Force Lightning and Multinational Division – North. “This is yet another heartless and cowardly al-Qaida action against the people of Iraq.”
Since the beginning of the operation, 24 booby-trapped structures have been destroyed. Additionally, at least 60 al-Qaida operatives have been killed, 134 have been detained, 45 weapons caches have been discovered and 96 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed.
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342