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Soldiers revel in successful operation

3rd ID in Iraq status report

POSTED: November 1, 2007 5:00 a.m.
FOB KALSU — Taking 13 suspected al-Qaeda leaders off the street was a major accomplishment for 3rd Infantry Division soldiers who are part of the surge brigades on the ground.
U.S. and Iraqi forces targeted al-Qaeda leaders in Arab Jabour Oct. 12
Soldiers of Company A and Headquarters and Headquarters Company’s Scout platoon, of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division rounded up the detainees in thorough house-to-house searches.    
A squad-size element of Iraqi soldiers also contributed to the mission by entering and clearing a Mosque near the houses, which were the focus of the operation.
All of the detainees were identified by a local source, said Capt. Eric Mellow, commander of Co. A. They were bade guys, and it was evident by the fact that there were grenades, multiple AK-47s, ammunition and materials to build improvised explosive device, Melloh added.
Both the junior soldiers and the officers were proud of their accomplishment.        
“It’s good to get one (a high-value individual) on the list like that,” said Spc. Tom Puskar, a Co. A infantry team leader. Puskar said during their searches of buildings he and the soldiers in his squad were able to detain three of the 13 suspected insurgent leaders.
“This is one of the best missions we’ve ever done,” Melloh said. “It was a company-sized air assault into an objective further (south) than we’ve ever gone.”
The operation, dubbed Operation Benelli, also led to a suicide vest, four grenades, three AK-47s, 18 magazines, improvised explosive device making materials, and fake identification cards.
 

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