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Published:August 14th, 2007 05:02 EST
Operation Lightning Hammer pursues al-Qaeda

Operation Lightning Hammer pursues al-Qaeda

By SOP newswire

TIKRIT, Iraq – TIKRIT, Iraq – Operation Lightning Hammer, involving approximately 16,000 Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces, began Aug. 13 with a large-scale offensive to defeat al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells seeking safe haven throughout the Diyala River Valley. This operation is a key part of Multinational Corps-Iraq’s overall operation,
Phantom Strike.

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnered with members of the 5th Iraqi Army Division, initiated the operation with a late-night air assault into targeted locations to capture or kill al-Qaeda responsible for the violence against Iraqi civilians.

“Al-Qaeda cells were disrupted and forced into hiding due to Operation
Arrowhead Ripper in June and July," said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Task Force Lightning and Multinational Division North. “Our main goal with Lightning Hammer is to eliminate the terrorist organizations throughout MND-N and show them that they truly have no safe haven – especially in Diyala."

Taking advantage of concentrated forces in Diyala province, Lightning Hammer’s goal is to target al-Qaeda elements that fled from Baqouba into the outlying regions north of Diyala’s capital city.

In addition to the thousands of Soldiers and their ISF counterparts participating in Lightning Hammer, attack helicopters, close-air support, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and tanks compliment the combined effort.

In addition to 3-1 Cavalry Division, elements of the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division; 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division; 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division; 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and 25th Combat Aviation Brigade are also conducting operations in support of Lightning Hammer.

Elements of the 4th and 5th Iraqi Army Divisions, along with Iraqi Police units from Diyala province are teamed with Coalition Forces in a ajority of Lightning Hammer operations.

“The Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces are committed to the people of Diyala, they are committed to fighting for the Iraqi people’s security," Mixon said. “We will aggressively and persistently target al-Qaeda, an organization that brings nothing but hatred, destruction, and disregard for the very foundation of the Iraqi peoples’ principles and faith."

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342