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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Iraqi Police Join the Security Mission in Diwaniyah

Multi-National Division, Baghdad
4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division


DIWANIYAH, Iraq, April 10, 2007 — Operation Black Eagle moved into a new phase of operations with the Iraqi police joining the Iraqi army and Coalition Forces in security operations here, April 8.

Iraqi police began manning key checkpoints throughout the city, further adding to the security forces already in place.

"The Iraqi police are now out in force helping to enforce the rule of law in Diwaniyah," said Col. Michael Garrett, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

The Iraqi police were not involved in the initial operation for many reasons. They were asked to stay at their stations in order to protect them from the possibility of reprisal attacks from the militias.

"The Iraqi Police lacked the training necessary to conduct this type of operation," said Brig. Gen. Sadiq Jafar Ali, provincial police chief. "Thanks to the help and expertise of the Iraqi army and Coalition Forces, the Iraqi police will now be able to cooperate with them to secure the city."

The Iraqi army was asked by the government of Iraq to rid the town of militia members and other terrorist groups who had waged a campaign of murder and intimidation against the people of Diwaniyah and the security forces charged with protecting them.

Summing up the attacks, Maj. Gen. Oothman Farhood, commander of the 8th Iraqi army Division and leader of the assault against the militia, mentioned hundreds of attacks and dozens of kidnappings and murders in the city.

"We have received more than 700 requests for the help of the Iraqi army from the people of Diwaniyah," he said. "The Iraqi army is here for the people of Iraq and to help the Iraqi police provide security for the citizens of Diwaniyah."

According to Oothman, Operation Black Eagle has achieved tremendous success, but much work remains. From capturing terrorists and their weapons to giving the people of Diwaniyah the hope of returning to their normal lives, the cooperation of the Iraqi army and their counterparts is moving into the next phase of operations.

Fighting continued in the city April 8 as the Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces captured 39 militia members and several larges caches of weapons and explosives.

"We have freed the people of Diwaniyah from murder and intimidation that have plagued the city 24 hours a day, seven days a week for months," Oothman said.

Even with the assurances, concerns remain about the future security of the city once the Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces leave the city. "As with all wars, this is not a one or two-day event," Oothman stated. "We are going to be here until we have returned security and stability to Diwaniyah."

Maj. Gen. Pawel Lamla, commander of the Multi National Division-Central South, also talked about a long and thorough rebuilding and restructuring plan.

"As you can see, we are here together as a coalition of many countries for a common goal," he said. "We are here for the benefit of the city of Diwaniyah and its people."

Lamla also discussed the next phase of Operation Black Eagle, securing the city and repairing damage caused by the fighting.

"The terrorists and militias seek to destroy the city. We want to destroy the militias and rebuild and repair the damages that have occurred," Lamla said. He also talked of the link between the new Baghdad security plan and the on-going operations in Diwaniyah.

"As the Baghdad security plan goes into its next phase, we will do the same. We are going to establish joint security stations throughout the city. The Iraqi Army and police will supervise the stations alongside Coalition Forces," Lamla said. "With the JSS (Joint Security Station), we will maintain a constant presence within the city and improve the capability of the Iraqi police at the same time.

"As soon as the Iraqi police are capable, we will return security responsibilities to them," Lamla continued. "Until then, we will do what is required, for as long as it takes to make Diwaniyah safe."

Photo: Iraqi army troops and policemen patrol the streets of Diwaniyah, Iraq, alongside soldiers and paratroopers from Multi National Division-Central South and Multi National Division-Baghdad during Operation Black Eagle, April 8, 2007. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Childers.

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