The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Coalition Forces go after al Sadr's Mahdi Army
The return of Muqtada al Sadr from his four months of self imposed exile in Iran has led to a spike in activity against his political leadership and the extremist elements of his fractured Mahdi Army. Over the past few days, U.S. and Iraqi forces have conducted multiple operations in Sadr City, and over the past 24 hours, killed 4 Mahdi fighters and captured 6 after attacking a rocket team in the northeastern district.
On Saturday and Sunday, U.S. and Iraqi forces conducted air and ground operations against Mahdi Army “rocket” teams targeting the Green Zone (or International Zone). Apache Longbow attack helicopters from the 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division killed 4 Mahdi fighters and destroyed 10 rockets and 1 truck. The air attack was followed up by a ground raid by soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Six Mahdi fighters were captured in “a residence inside Sadr City.” Reuters reported the engagement occurred in the neighborhood of Habibibya, which U.S. forces cordoned.
The Multinational Forces Iraq press release was clear the Mahdi cell was firing rockets, and not smaller mortars. The word “rocket” was used 7 times in the press release. U.S. forces found 107mm rockets in a field north of Sadr City on Friday. “[The cache] was found in an area known to locals as the ‘Jaish Al Mahdi Forbidden Zone,’ where some rocket attacks on Baghdad’s International Zone have originated,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported. “The cache contained 20 107mm rocket warheads, three fully assembled 107mm rockets, one 60mm mortar and a sandbag full of blasting devices.”