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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Iraqis celebrate school reopening

26 January 2007
Courtesy of American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD — A neighborhood north of Ramadi celebrated the reopening of a school Tuesday. Also this week, U.S. and Iraqi forces provided aid to citizens in Adhamiyah, and Iraqi Forces distributed winter clothes and blankets to students in Tal Afar Monday.

Iraqi Soldiers and Coalition troops joined the celebration in Ramadi, and community leaders asked Maj. Derek Horst, civil affairs team leader, 4th Civil Affairs Group, to cut the ribbon for al Haitham School. The school provides classes for the children of Abu Jassim tribe.

The school temporarily closed in November for renovations. Tribal leader Sheik Taher, who oversaw the renovations, led the group of military and community leaders on a brief tour of the building after the ribbon cutting.

"We're making progress day after day," said 1st Lt. Stuart Barnes, civil affairs team leader, Company B, 486th Civil Affairs Battalion. Barnes said school attendance proves the increase in stability there.

The school, which began holding classes again earlier this month, has an estimated 200 to 300 students, Barnes said.

In other news, residents of the Adhamiyah section of eastern Baghdad picked up needed supplies this week following a visit by Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team and their Iraqi Army counterparts.

U.S. Forces and Iraqi troops cooperated with the Adhamiyah district council to deliver clothes, toys, vitamins and toiletries to more than 500 residents.

“Soccer balls and comic books were especially popular with the children,” said Capt. Drew Corbin, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. “This would have been impossible without cooperation between both the Iraqi’s and the Americans.

The Iraqi police were very helpful today. They provided security and helped distribute the humanitarian assistance bags."

The humanitarian assistance drop is part of a U.S.-Iraqi effort to reduce sectarian violence and help bring security to Baghdad.

In another operation in Tal Afar, students from the Kawla and Darar Primary Schools received an assortment of winter clothing, school supplies, and additional treats from Tal Afar's Mayor Najim, Iraqi Police officers, and Soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, during Operation Warm-Up Jan. 22.

Mayor Najim and the delegation traveled from classroom to classroom, providing the students with winter clothing and Iraqi flags. In addition, the school headmaster at each location received a first-aid kit and instructions for medication.

The total items distributed included 280 items of winter clothing, 650 pencils, 250 pens, 200 erasers, 60 spiral notebooks and 30 folders. Every child received school supplies and candy.

Operation Warm-Up was part of the ongoing Iraqi Police and Coalition humanitarian assistance program Operation Kids.

Photo: An Iraqi policeman gives thumbs up to Iraqi children during a school opening in Baghdad, Jan. 10, 2007. Official Department of Defense photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Tierney P. Nowland.

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