CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Iraq Security Forces and approximately 1,000 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers from Regimental Combat Team-2, comprised of elements of 2nd Marine Regiment and 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Marine Division began Operation Sword (Saif) in Al Anbar province during the early morning hours June 28. The operation is aimed at disrupting and rooting out insurgents in the area along the Euphrates River between the cities of Hit and Haditha.
The first three days of the operation have been productive, yielding several weapons caches and the detainment of over 20 suspected insurgent.
“The intent of Operation Sword is to remove insurgents from the city of Hit in order to provide security and stability for the local inhabitants,” said Lt. Col. Christopher C. Starling, RCT-2 operations officer.
The majority of the units are conducting cordon and knock operations in and around Hit, approximately 100 miles northwest of Baghdad. Iraqi Security Forces, Marines and Soldiers discovered several weapons caches throughout the city. Several hundred mortar and artillery rounds have been discovered along with explosives, rifles, a machine gun and various bomb-making materials.
In the past, insurgents have used the Hit-Haditha corridor to emplace roadside bombs and continue a campaign of intimidation against the citizens of Iraq. This is the second time in the past month that Marines from RCT-2 have conducted major counter-insurgency operations in the area.
Iraqi Security Forces and Marines discovered numerous weapons caches during Operation New Market in the last week of May. Approximately 12 insurgents were killed and 30 detained during the operation.
The citizens of Haditha were hospitable and openly pleased to see ISF and Marines during New Market. The citizens of Hit are responding similarly during Operation Sword (Saif).
“Since the combined (3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment) and Iraqi Security Forces entered the city three days ago, there has been no significant resistance or opposition,” said Starling. “The people have been overwhelmingly receptive and have assisted Coalition and Iraqi forces in locating roadside bombs and weapons caches.”
The 1st Company of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Division, comprised of approximately 100 Iraqi soldiers, is fully integrated with Marine and Army units during Operation Sword (Saif). The platoons within the company have been attached to Marine and U.S. Army infantry units.
Iraqi soldiers help bridge the communication gap between Marines and the Iraqi civilians. Their professionalism has continued to foster the positive reception ISF and Coalition Forces have received from the citizens of Hit.
Since the Operation Sword (Saif) began, one insurgent has been killed after employing a roadside bomb against Marines.
Iraqi soldiers and Coalition Forces continue Operation Sword (Saif) to rid the city of insurgents and foreign fighters who intimidate the populace.