Thursday, March 16, 2006

US and Iraqi joint forces launch massive air raid

Like a stake in the heart of the insurgency...

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. military and Iraqi forces launched the largest air assault in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion in a bid to root out insurgents hiding around Samarra.

Operation Swarmer began early today in the southern part of Salah Ad-Din province with more than 1,500 U.S. and Iraqi troops, about 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft, the U.S. military said in a statement e-mailed from Baghdad.

The goal of the raid is to ``clear a suspected insurgent operating area north east of Samarra,'' the military said. The assault is expected to continue for several days as a thorough search of the area is conducted, it said.

[...] Weapons caches containing artillery shells, explosives, bomb making materials, and military uniforms were discovered during today's raid, according to the statement. Earlier this month, U.S. and Iraq troops found weapons and equipment caches west of Samarra, it said.

More weapons seized as well as the military uniforms. Those are the big find here to help prevent terrorists from infiltrating Iraqi military ranks which is a more recent development in the insurgents repetoire. That points to good intelligence gathering which is a big plus for coalition troops and the Iraqi forces. Two can play the infiltration game, hopefully we're getting guys inside plus help from the locals.