March 26th, 2006 05:57 EST
Iraqi forces grow
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi Security Forces are growing more confident and capable as they gain combat experience across Iraq. Coalition members continue to support them, providing training and equipment to the new forces.
Soldiers of 4th Iraqi Army Division conducted combined offensive operations in and around Kirkuk Friday. Operation Scorpion began at 4 a.m. with Soldiers searching five villages simultaneously for suspected terrorists.
Iraqi troops, supported by U.S. Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, systematically searched the villages for selected targets based on Iraqi-generated intelligence.
The operation was developed and planned by Iraqi brigade commander Maj. Gen. Anwar and his staff.
“There are now more than 241,000 trained and equipped ISF members patrolling the streets and neighborhoods of Iraq,” said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, Mult-National Force - Iraq Spokesman, “100,000 more than we had last January.”
Those numbers will soon be boosted, as the Baghdad Iraqi Police Basic Training Academy increased its enrollment by 200 Friday. The Iraqi Police Officer Candidates arrived from the Ramadi area and are known as the “Sons of al Anbar.”
“I signed up to be an Iraqi Policeman so that Iraq can become free and secure from the insurgency,” said an Iraqi Police recruit as he waited in line to be processed for the academy. “Once we return to take care of the streets … the American Forces can reduce their presence in the city.”
While Iraqi security forces conduct real-world missions, training academies across the country supply the forces needed to rebuild and secure the country. More than 20 Soldiers from the 7th Iraqi Army Division completed a three-week driving and preventive maintenance course March 23. Following a formal graduation ceremony, the Soldiers took receipt of 24 humvees.
The new vehicles offer added protection for Soldiers of the 7th Iraqi Army, which until now has been using small, unarmored pick-up trucks.
“We get new vehicles to help us fight terrorism,” said one Iraqi Army officer following the graduation. “Now, we can help our battalions with convoys and use this vehicle to help support our battalions. There are future bad days for the insurgents.”
Elements of Multi-National Division – Baghdad’s 4th Infantry Division discovered a weapons cache west of the Euphrates River March 23. Soldiers found the cache hidden behind a small berm while clearing a route near the river.
The cache contained rocket-propelled grenades which an explosive ordnance disposal team determined to be training rounds without warheads.
In a separate incident, Coalition Forces conducting a cordon and search mission found a box of blasting caps in a yard southwest of Hazah. The owner of the property was taken into custody on suspicion of terrorist activity.
Source: US DoD