By Master Sgt. Dave LarsenFebruary 12, 2007
BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Feb. 12, 2007) - Iraqi security forces and Soldiers from the Multi-National Division - Baghdad uncovered 14 weapons caches and detained 140 insurgent suspects in and around the Iraqi capital during the week of Feb. 3-9.
With more than 7,400 patrols conducted during the week, the trend of having Iraqi security forces in the lead on day-to-day missions continues, according to Brig. Gen. John Campbell, MND-B deputy commanding general.
"Nearly 3,800 of those patrols were conducted by Iraqi police and Iraqi national police," Campbell noted. "Clearly, our Iraqi partners are taking the lead."
During the week, 34 operations, at company level or higher, were conducted. These operations - 20 of them joint and 14 U.S.-led - resulted in the cache finds and detention of suspected terrorists, Campbell said. He said as the implementation of the new security plan progresses, the focus of operations will shift throughout the Iraqi capital.
"Rusafa is a focal point for us right now," Campbell said of the east Baghdad district. "We're addressing that area with increased security forces and patrols."
Campbell noted that elements of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd "Falcon" Brigade Combat Team and Iraqi security forces have established a Combat Outpost in the Iraqi capital - located in the Adhamiyah district, just north of Rusafa.
"These joint combat outposts allow Iraqi security forces and coalition troops the ability to reach out within these neighborhoods, providing a steadying presence and allowing them to understand the security and safety concerns of the residents, firsthand," Campbell said. "Just having us there, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will improve the security situations within these areas."
Campbell said these outposts will continue to spring up in Baghdad as the security plan continues. The first COP was established last month in the Kadamiyah security district by elements of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, attached to 2nd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.
While security remains the top concern for MND-B, civil military operations aimed at providing economic, educational and humanitarian assistance are ongoing throughout the Iraqi capital.
One of the highlights this week was the opening of a new business center at the Baghdad International Airport.
"The center, sponsored by the Iraqi American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is designed to host business meetings at the airport," said Navy Cdr. Mike Sanchez, a civil military plans officer with MND-B.
Sanchez said Feb. 5 marked the grand opening of the Taji High School for Girls, north of the Iraqi capital. More than 400 students will attend the school starting next month.
South of the city, the Sadr Yusafiyah Farm Association distributed 100 bags of potato seed.
"This comes just in time for the spring planting season," Sanchez said. "Potato farming is a large portion of the agricultural business in the western section of Baghdad province."
Iraqi and U.S. forces also distributed meals, blankets and other necessities to hundreds of needy Baghdad citizens this week, Sanchez added. Residents of the often volatile Haifa Street neighborhood in central Baghdad were the recipients of humanitarian aid from Iraqi security forces and troops from 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, Sanchez said.
"Our Civil Military Operations Centers throughout Baghdad continue to serve the local populace," Sanchez said.
Though the implementation of the new security plan for Baghdad is just beginning, Campbell said he's encouraged by the early results.
"With the cache finds this week, the detentions we've made and creating a larger presence on Baghdad streets with the establishment of another combat outpost, we are making headway with the Baghdad security plan," Campbell said. "This is only the beginning."
(Master Sgt. Dave Larsen writes for the 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.)