News: Operation Hoplite clears Had Maksar
Multi-National Division – North Public Affairs Office
DIYALA RIVER VALLEY, Iraq – Iraqi army (IA) and coalition forces in the Had Maksar area of Diyala province targeted al-Qaida operatives and other terrorist forces during a three-day operation beginning Aug. 4, in a continued effort to deny the enemy the use of any perceived safe havens in the Diyala River Valley.
Taking advantage of the increased forces in Diyala, the 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army, partnered with Soldiers from the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted Operation Hoplite in the Had Maksar area, resulting in five enemy killed and 10 suspected terrorists detained.
"This operation is imperative as it not only denies al-Qaida's freedom of maneuver, but provides a safe and secure environment for the people living in the lower portion of the Diyala River Valley," said Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of coalition forces in Diyala. "Citizens of Had Maksar were extremely pleased with the presence of the Iraqi army, clearly showing the security forces are having a significant positive impact on the population as they continue to fight for their country."
During the operation, two house-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were discovered and destroyed; two weapons caches were discovered; four IEDs were discovered and reduced; and one al-Qaida vehicle was destroyed.
Attack helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade began the operation, with an air assault of Soldiers from 5-73 Cav. Regt. into the main objective areas. The IA and coalition forces conducted a thorough search of the objective areas, to include a detailed cordon and search of each village and clearance of the palm groves.
"We developed a detailed plan in conjunction with some of the local leadership, which provided the ability to isolate, kill and capture the al-Qaida elements who began to seek shelter and safe haven in the village," said Lt. Col. Andrew Poppas, 5-73 Cav. commander. "As the enemy continues to seek shelter, we will find them, target them, and ultimately bring them to justice."
After observing armed men trying to escape the objective area, attack helicopters from 25th CAB engaged and killed five terrorists. Ten suspected terrorists detained during the operation were transferred to a facility for further questioning.
The weapon caches consisted of rocket-propelled grenades, artillery munitions, mortar tubes, IED-making material and assorted small-arms munitions.
"Our forces will remain aggressive and persistent in targeting the enemy forces throughout Diyala," Sutherland continued. "The people continue to recognize the hatred and destruction al-Qaida offers, which is another indicator that the terrorists have no safe haven in Diyala."
Following the clearance of the Had Maksar area, the IA constructed a patrol base to maintain a permanent presence, further denying the enemy's abilities to target the citizens of the Diyala River Valley.