Foreign Fighters Found in Ramadi
The city of Ramadi has seen some progress of late in the fight against the insurgency. While Ramadi, the provincial capital and largest city in Anbar, is perhaps one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq, the government has been working to gain local support and cleave off the domestic nationalist elements of the insurgency from the more violent Islamist and foreign elements. One result has been the declaration of war against al-Qaeda by the Islamic Army in Iraq and other insurgent groups.
The Iraqi Army has taken on greater responsibilities in the province, with Operation Final Strike being one such recent example. Today, a raid on a factory in the Tameem district in Ramadi was led by the 1st Brigade, 7th Division of the Iraqi Army, and netted an insurgent cell. The Multi-National Force-West press release states “The intelligence attained by the Iraqi soldiers led to the capture of 15 suspected insurgents, 11 of which are identified as Syrian nationals and the remaining four as Iraqis.” A cache of 36 AK-47 assault rifles was also found in the factory.
The intelligence used to capture the Syrians was not disclosed, however most of the intelligence behind raids of this nature is derived from residents. Another possibility is the insurgents that have decided to fight al-Qaeda have provided the Iraqi Army with information. As they have colluded with al-Qaeda in the past, the insurgents would have an understanding of their operations.
Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool, the Public Affairs Officer for Multi-National Force-West, stressed the Iraqi Army, and not tribal militias, are to be credited for the operation; “This raid was conducted by Iraqi soldiers, not any of the tribal groups that I’ve been reading about in the press. There were American soldiers in support but this was an Iraqi Army raid.” In a follow up question to Captain Pool on the issue of the Karabila tribe purportedly rounding up 270 al-Qaeda fighters, he stated this would be positive news which, if accurate, certainly would be communicated by Multi-National Force-West.