News: Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) Update Nov. 6
CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq " Fighting continued into the second day of Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) in the town of Husaybah near the Iraq-Syria border.
Approximately 1,000 Iraqi Army soldiers and 2,500 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers are moving through the city to restore security along the border and destroy the Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network operating throughout the region. Husaybah is a location for foreign fighters, equipment and money to transit into Iraq.
The combined force is clearing the city, house by house, as the al Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents continue to plant improvised explosive devices throughout the city and fire on the Marines and Iraqi Army soldiers from homes, schools and mosques. Insurgents frequently use religious and public buildings to launch their attacks.
Iraqi Army soldiers and Marines were fired on by insurgents from mosques in two separate incidents today. In both cases, Iraqi Army soldiers entered and quickly searched the mosques. Insurgents had cleared the buildings before the Iraqi soldiers arrived on the scene, however.
Pockets of resistance have been encountered and eliminated by the Iraqi Army soldiers and Marines throughout the day. Ten targets were struck today by Coalition air strikes. Marines can confirm 17 insurgents have been killed since the operation began yesterday. Many more are suspected of being killed, but Coalition forces haven't been able to confirm those numbers yet. All air strikes were conducted using precision-guided munitions to ensure destruction of the target while limiting collateral damage. There have been no reports of civilian casualties or of civilians leaving the region due to the operation.
Iraqi soldiers established a temporary lodging area in a vacant housing district in Husaybah for residents temporarily displaced by the operation. Iraqi and Coalition Forces have accepted approximately 450 residents and are providing them with billeting, food and security.
During the operation, Marines and Iraqi Army soldiers have systematically searched every building. When locked buildings are encountered, forces typically cut the lock to gain entry for their search. Instructions to submit damages claims resulting from searches are left at the building for owners. Five teams of Marines have been tasked to help process claims for property damage.
Iraqi Army units partnered with Marines from Regimental Combat Team-2 will provide a joint presence in Husaybah after the successful clearing of the city. Previous operations between Iraqi Army units integrated with Marines and Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Marine Division have established a persistent joint presence recently in the cities of Hit, Haditha, Barwana, Haqlaniyah, Sa"dah, Rawah, Amiriyah and Ferris.
The offensive is part of Operation Sayaid (Hunter), designed to deny AQI the ability to operate in the Euphrates River Valley and to establish a permanent security presence along the Syrian border. By eliminating terrorist influence in and around Husaybah, Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces are providing a safe and secure environment for the Iraqi people in that region to vote in the Dec. 15 national elections.