BAGHDAD-While upcoming elections, scheduled for next spring, give many Iraqis a sense of hope in their ability to improve their government and way of life, insurgents view elections as an opportunity to conduct attacks and impose their own agenda.

American Soldiers are hard at work to deny the insurgency any ground within the Istiqlaal area, northeast of the capital, and outlying areas.

Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division have conducted a series of raids and cache searches in and around Istiqlaal to interdict weapons and explosives trafficking into areas closer to Baghdad.

Throughout this month, U.S. troops worked long days with their partners from the 6th Iraqi Emergency Response Unit and 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Federal Police Division, executing raids and cache searches in the rural Rashidiyah and Fahama areas along the Tigris River.

The combined forces began work early in the morning, arriving at several different agricultural areas while the sun came up. Soldiers and ISF spread out across fields and through groves to search for caches of explosive materials and weapons.

Meticulously, the team searched and cleared over 22 suspected cache sites throughout Rashidiyah and Fahama and searched many target houses.

Partnered teams of Soldiers and IPs established traffic control points everyday to interdict weapons trafficking while others searched populated areas for illegal weapons and worked to arrest wanted insurgents with warrants issued by the Iraqi courts.