Thursday, March 16, 2006
Biggest Air Assault Since Invasion
On Thursday the U.S. military said it has launched what it has called the biggest air offensive in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. The massive air offensive is targeting fanatic terrorist loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the area near Samarra, which is about 60 miles (100km) north of Baghdad.
Operation Swarmer, which involves more than 1,500 soldiers, 50 aircraft, mainly the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and some 200 armored vehicles is looking to take the fight to the enemy after increased violence after the bombing of a Shiite shrine on Feb. 22.
The offensive which is striking at the heart of the insurgency in the Sunni triangle has already met with success. " A number of enemy weapons caches have been captured, containing artillery shells, explosives, IED-making materials, and military uniforms." said a military spokesman.
The military also said the attack began spearheaded by the Iraqi army's 1st Brigade, 4th Division, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team and the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade conducting a combined air and ground assault to isolate the objective area. Operations such as this one are what is needed most to show the Iraqi people themselves that they don't have to live with fear.
Close to half of the soldiers some 650-800 that are taking parting in this operation are Iraqis themselves, showing that they are becoming more of a partner and leader in the fight instead of a hindrance.