May 12th, 2008 05:16 EST
Soldiers find weapons cache (Maderiyah)
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq – Coalition forces discovered a weapons cache near Maderiyah May 9 on a joint mission with the Iraqi Army.
A tip from an area citizen led Soldiers from Battery B, 1st Battalion, 9th
Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, to the home where two suspected weapons dealers were staying.
The suspects were detained and informed Battery B and Iraqi Army
Soldiers with Company C, 5th Battalion, 25th Brigade, 6th IA Division, of the location of four separate weapons caches during questioning.
One of the detainees led the Soldiers to the locations.
The cache contained 16 57 mm rockets in their original packaging, an
operational 23 mm anti-aircraft gun, two PKC machine guns in excellent
condition, two operational AK-47 rifles, one rocket-propelled grenade round, three full AK-47 magazines, 800 AK-47 rounds, 1,000 PKC rounds, nine ammunition vests and four ski masks.
Capt. Richard Aaron, commander of Battery B, said he believed the
weapons had been used against Coalition and Iraqi forces last year when al-Qaeda in Iraq operated in the area.
“Although most of the AQI leadership was detained, killed or fled the area late last year, men who helped AQI and some of their lower-level fighters have blended back into the local population,” Aaron said. “They maintain the caches because they are prepared to fight U.S. and Iraqi Army forces if AQI leaders return.”
Aaron, a native of Boston, said the Iraqi Army played a major role in taking the weapons out of the hands of enemy fighters.
“They … have a gifted ability to obtain information by understanding the people,” he said. “We have worked hard to ensure citizens in the area trust the IA and are willing to work with both them and U.S. forces.”
Although not actively working with AQI right now, Aaron said the detainees probably worked for AQI in the past.
“They were very dangerous because they were hiding weapons and most likely willing to facilitate attacks against Coalition forces in the future,” he said.
The detainees and munitions were taken into custody for further
questioning and investigation.
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