CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Iraqi Security Forces and Marines from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment conducted a sweep of the Karma Market during Operation Free Market, Sept. 7.
The operation was conducted after numerous improvised explosive device attacks in that area. The search included businesses and residences in the market area.
“The battalion has been hit with IED’s about 100 meters north of the mosque in the market, and we are trying to find out if anyone knows who is doing it,” said 2nd Lt. Gabriel A. Ives, platoon commander for 2nd Platoon, Company G.
Around 10:00 a.m., Marines from the battalion cordoned off the streets around the market ensuring no one left the area and no hostile force outside the market could attack the combined force as they searched. Once the cordon was set, the rest of the troops moved in to secure the rest of the area and started talking to the locals.
Groups of Marines and Iraqi soldiers searched each side of the market and talked to the owners of the shops to let them know they were searching the premises for any weapons or materials for making IED’s. Each group included interpreters to communicate easier and a military working dog and handler team that could pick up the scent of explosives.
Two and one-half hours after searching in, around and on top of the buildings produced a few illegal items.
The Marines and Iraqi soldiers concluded their search, loaded up their vehicles and headed back to Camp Fallujah. The information they gathered will be analyzed and used in future operations.
“The mission achieved what we wanted. We demonstrated through Marine and Iraqi Army patrols that we are concerned about the area and the people living and working there,” said Maj. Christopher Dixon, the executive officer for 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. “Our continued presence and interaction with these people will eventually develop a closer bond and work towards providing greater security. With increased security, the people and local economy will grow, driving insurgents from their midst.”