By Spc. Kandi HugginsDecember 30, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING STATION WARRIOR, Iraq (Army News Service, Dec. 30, 2010) - Soldiers and police from the 12th Iraqi Army Division and Iraqi Police Department conducted a joint operation to disrupt and capture terrorists operating within Kirkuk province Dec. 24.
Operation Devil's Eve, a four-day mission under the joint command of Brig. Gen. Sameer, commander, 12th IA Div., and Maj. Gen. Jamal, the Provincial Director of Police in Kirkuk, resulted in the capture of twelve warranted individuals and multiple weapons caches.
"This operation indicates that we, the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police, with support from American forces, can provide security to the people of Kirkuk ... Arabs, Turkomen, Syrians or any other group... and they can feel secure as we prosper as Iraqis," Jamal said.
The combined ISF air assault operation, using intelligence gathered in the weeks of planning leading to Operation Devil's Eve, reached multiple targets, using Iraqi aircraft to provide ISF speed and the element of surprise needed to detain warranted individuals before they could flee the area.
Iraqi Police and elements from the 12th IA Div. formed cordons around the outskirts of the objectives to further prevent the insurgents' ability to escape.
The ISF began plans for the operation in early December targeting terrorists in the Kirkuk area.
Devil Brigade Soldiers of the 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kan., assisted the ISF in planning and rehearsals prior to the mission that resulted in confiscating several caches of improvised explosive devices, rockets, and TNT barrels, said Sameer.
The 12th IA staff, completed plans for the air assault operation with the Dark Knight Training Team, attached to the 1st AATF to advise their ISF counterparts and prove guidance as needed.
"We're sincerely proud to be here to advise, train and assist the ISF," said Col. Eric Welsh, 1st AATF commander. "This operation has been all about them from the planning to the training leading up to this important event.
"If you are a citizen of Kirkuk, be assured that regardless of your ethnicity, the ISF are working together for your security and stability," he added.
Iraqi police assisted in the effort developing warrant packets based on evidence to be used by IA soldiers to detain the suspected criminals.
The operation also required coordination with the Iraqi Air Force, who provided Russian-built Mi-17 helicopters to transport commandos from the 12th IA Commando Battalion to the objectives.
In the days leading to Operation Devil's Eve, ISF conducted a series of targeted raids in the Zaab River valley, a route insurgents use to smuggle weapons and conduct financing operations.
The success of the shaping operations, called Operation Rat Trap, led to the arrest of several individuals and the capture of numerous caches which provided intelligence for planning Devil's Eve, said Sameer.
"This is only one of five areas where we had operations ..." he said. "And this will not be the last joint operation we conduct."
Sameer explained that the people of Kirkuk provided much of the information needed to target the terrorists and that the assistance of the general population demonstrated that violent extremists have fewer places to find support, he said.
(Spc. Kandi Huggins serves with 1st Advise and Assist Task Force public affairs.)