Monday, January 7, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 7 Jan 2008

From MNF-I, Adhamiyah Iraqi Security Volunteers find weapons caches.

BAGHDAD – Local Iraqi Security Volunteers discovered two large weapons caches Dec. 29 in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah neighborhood, adding to a spike in the number of weapons caches found since the ISV began operating in November.

The two new discoveries bring the total number of weapons caches found to 48 since early November when volunteers first began manning checkpoints and other guard positions in Adhamiyah.

Within the first month, the ISV contributed
to a 300 percent increase in the number of weapons stockpiles uncovered, said Capt. Phillip Dow, a spokesman for the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the U.S. unit based in Adhamiyah.

The latest in a series of discoveries began Dec. 29, when volunteers manning a checkpoint position discovered a buried cache containing more than 85 57mm anti-aircraft projectiles. The volunteers notified U.S. Soldiers from the regiment, who responded to transport the weapons to a safe location.

Less than two hours later, another group of volunteers reported finding a cache buried in an open area behind the cemetery of the Abu Hanifa Mosque. The cache consisted of 20 anti-personnel mines, three 152mm projectiles, and one 120mm mortar round.

ISV units have helped uncover multiple caches in the vicinity of the Abu Hanifa Mosque over the last two months. The stockpiles are remnants from the time when the mosque was a safe haven for local Sunni insurgents and foreign fighters, according to Maj. Ike Sallee, the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cav’s operations officer.

“Before we had the ISV, the terrorists had more freedom to operate. Now, with the ISV committed, we are pushing them out of their sanctuaries and keeping them on the run,” Sallee said. “The terrorists are realizing that Adhamiyah isn’t a safe place for them anymore.”