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Monday, April 16, 2007

Diwaniyah “returning to normal, step by step”

Sunday, 15 April 2007
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO
4th BCT (Abn.), 25th Inf. Div. Public Affairs

DIWANIYAH — The provincial governor of Qadasiyah Province, Iraqi and Coalition commanders and government representatives met with the media to discuss the progress of Operation Black Eagle at Camp Echo April 13.

"There is no fighting going on in the city at this time. The city is returning to normal, step by step,” governor Hazma said.

“The local government and Iraqi Army along with Coalition Forces have been able to begin providing aid, food rations, fuel and other services to those who are in need,” he added. “Health, water, sewage and other departments are working and providing services.

“It isn’t to the point we want, but it is a good start and it is getting better all the time,” the governor said. “Every school and government facility will be open Monday.”

Hazma praised the Diwaniyah populace for supporting the operation and said security in and around the city has improved as a result.

“The only way our city will get better is through a joint effort with our friends in the Iraqi Army and Coalition,” said Hamza.

Efforts are on-going to improve the security situation in Diwaniyah, according to the commanding general of the 8th Iraqi Army Division, Maj. Gen. Oothman Faroud.

“Yesterday we toured the city for about four hours,” he said. “We decided to establish two additional check points in key neighborhoods to ensure security for those areas.

“We talked to a lot of people and all of them assured us of their support and thanked us for our help,” the general continued. “We have also reestablished the flow of food and other humanitarian aid in to the city.”

The 8th Iraqi Army Division commander also discussed the reasons why the Coalition force is still supporting his division in Operation Black Eagle.

“We still depend on the Coalition to provide technical support and expertise to help us find and remove [improvised explosive devices],” he told the assembled media members. “They have removed dozens since Black Eagle began. We also depend on their helicopters to give us air support, at times.”

Coalition support to Operation Black Eagle was headed up by the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, commanded by Col. Michael Garrett.

Garrett praised the partnership created during the operation and the success of the mission.

“We have arrested many of the men responsible for attacks against Diwaniyah and Camp Echo thanks to the help of the citizens of Diwaniyah,” Garrett said. “If Maj. Gen. Oothman ever needs me, I will be here for him. If the people of Diwaniyah ever need me, I will be here for them and I will be here fast.”

Iraqi Police officers are also taking part in the security operation. Brig. Gen. Sadiq Jafar Ali, the provincial police chief, discussed his plan to improve the quality of the Iraqi Police in the province.

“We are preparing to hire an additional 3,000 policemen,” he said. “We are receiving new equipment all the time and thanks to the Coalition we are receiving excellent training.”

Sadiq said as he looks to the future he is optimistic.

“All of these things will help the Provincial Iraqi Control process along,” he said.

Hazma said a demonstration had taken place in town prior to the start of the press conference protesting the presence of the Coalition force in the province, but said few people participated.

“Less than 100 people took part in the demonstration,” he told the press. “It is people like this that support terrorists and want to bring chaos to Diwaniyah. This is unacceptable. We need the Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces here. They are here to help.”

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