Monday, November 5, 2007

Good News from Iraq: 5 Nov 2007

From MNF-I, Concerned Local Citizen Tip Leads Coalition Troops to Explosives Factory.

BAGHDAD — A Concerned Local Citizen (CLC) led Coalition forces to a home Wednesday where explosively formed penetrators (EFP) and improvised explosive devices (IED) were being constructed in Husseiniyah.

Soldiers of Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Wash., discovered a large cache of explosives at the home, including (10) fully-assembled EFP of various sizes (including one 12-inch EFP, the largest size found in Iraq) and (89) copper plates of various sizes used in making EFP. Also, more than (200) pounds of C-4 explosive, other explosive materials including TNT, and numerous other materials used in manufacturing EFP were found.

“We are getting these weapons off the street, which feels great,” said Sgt. Damon Farmer, team leader with 1st Platoon, Battery A, 2-12 FA, who was one of the Soldiers who first discovered a buried container filled with explosives in an outbuilding by the home. “That stuff isn’t going to blow up my truck. It isn’t going to kill U.S. Soldiers and it isn’t going to kill Iraqis.”

EFP are one of the enemies’ most dangerous weapons, because they are able to pierce armored vehicles. According to 4-2 SBCT officials, the EFP are effective approximately 50 percent of the time, a much higher percentage than the enemy’s other weapons. The EFP is a favored weapon of anti-Coalition Shia militias.

“In our area of operations the EFP threat is significant, and there was enough material there to make (100) EFP, so we may have saved approximately 50 lives and eliminated about two months of (enemy) militia activity,” said Lt. Col John Drago, 2-12 FA commander, noting that the discovery would not have been possible without Iraqi help.

“The cache was found based on the tip of a local citizen, which is significant because it shows the population is supporting our efforts to provide for their security. There is no doubt in my mind that the information about this find will be well received by the local population and further their willingness to support Coalition and Iraqi security force efforts.”

Recently, another 4-2 SBCT unit discovered the largest EFP cache ever found in Iraq in Sa’ada village, near Khan Bani Sa’ad. That cache included (124) fully-assembled EFP, (159) copper disks, (600)-plus pounds of C4 and other explosive materials, (100) mortar rounds of various caliber, (31) 107 mm rockets, two mortar tubes and (20) claymore-type mines.

“Finding this cache along with the other cache in almost the same week delivers a huge blow to the enemy,” Drago said. “This really interdicts their ability to sustain their efforts.”