CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq "Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Forces have begun clear and hold operations in the city of Karabilah, approximately two kilometers east of Husaybah, as Operation Al Hajip Elfulathi (Steel Curtain) enters into its sixth day.
The new phase of the operation is intended to set conditions for a permanent security presence within the city. Patrols and targeted raids are also being conducted in Husaybah to root out any remaining al-Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents.
Intelligence indicates some insurgents might have abandoned Husaybah once Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Forces began clearing the city and fled into Karabilah.
Since entering into Karabilah yesterday afternoon, Coalition and Iraqi forces have met with limited resistance in the form of sporadic small arms fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Two suspected car bombs were also discovered and when engaged by Coalition Forces, large secondary explosions were observed, confirming the presence of ordnance in both vehicles.
At approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday, Coalition Forces discovered a house wired with numerous explosives. Fifteen explosive rounds were found inside the walls and a 40 lb. charge was discovered in the floor of the building. An explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit was dispatched to the site and destroyed the ordnance in place.
The operation is the second in Karabilah. Operation Rohme (Spear) took place in the city last June. The operation was notable for the torture chamber that was found in an abandoned house that contained two Iraqi men who were found chained to the floor. The men had been tortured for refusing to cooperate with al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists who operated throughout the city. They were treated by medical personnel and released after recovering from their wounds. Unlike Operation Spear, Operation Steel Curtain will create a permanent presence in the city comprised of Iraqi Coalition Forces.
Operation Steel Curtain's goal is to restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraqi-Syrian border and destroy the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout the Al Qa"im region. The offensive is part of Operation Sayaid (Hunter), designed to deny insurgents the ability to operate in the Euphrates River Valley and to establish a permanent security presence along the Syrian border.