CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Marines, Sailors and Soldiers from Regimental Combat Team-2, 2d Marine Division successfully completed Operation Matador today, concluding a seven-day operation securing objectives in and around the Euphrates River cities of Karabilah, Ramana and Ubaydi, near the Syrian border.
The offensive was aimed at eliminating Anti- Iraqi Forces (AIF), neutralizing their sanctuary, disrupting planned attacks, and fracturing existing terrorist networks in the area. The region, an historical smuggling route and known insurgent hiding place, is used as a staging area where insurgents receive weapons and equipment and organize for attacks against the key cities of Ramadi, Fallujah, Baghdad and Mosul.
During Operation Matador, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers neutralized this sanctuary killing more than 125 insurgents, wounding many others, and detaining 39 insurgents of intelligence value.
Offensive action began on the night of 7 May. Marines met with resistance near the village of Ubaydi shortly thereafter. There, heavily armed insurgents and foreign fighters wearing protective flak jackets attempted to repulse the Marine’s attack. Approximately 70 terrorists died in several engagements within the first 24 hour period.
Operation Matador confirmed existing intelligence assessments focused on this region north of the Euphrates River including knowledge of numerous cave complexes in the nearby escarpment. Marines from Regimental Combat Team-2 will continue to monitor this area and are prepared to act on any intelligence indicating the return of insurgents and foreign fighters.
While patrolling through the small towns near the Syrian border, Marines discovered numerous weapons caches containing machine guns, mortar rounds and rockets materials. Six Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) and material used for making other improvised explosive devices were also found. The Marines were also able to defuse a number of existing improvised explosive devices before they detonated, preventing countless injuries to military and civilian personnel.
Nine Marines were killed during this operation and 40 were wounded.
Throughout the course of the operation, Marines strove to ensure the well-being of the local Iraqi citizens. At no time during the operation were essential services, such as power and water disrupted nor access to medical impeded. All reports indicate Iraqi citizens are not leaving their homes as a result of the Marine operations.
According to commanders in the area, the Marines were greeted with greater hospitality from local villagers than is normally encountered.
During the seven day operation, Marines disrupted the known infiltration routes through the region and disrupted sanctuaries and staging areas.
According to Maj.Gen. R.A. Huck, Commanding General, 2d Marine Division, “Regimental Combat Team-2 started and ended this operation as planned, accomplished its mission and secured all objectives. Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces will return again to this area in the future.”