A U. S. Army news dispatch describes the outcome of Operation Ithaca, a major attack on al Qaeda forces in Iraq’s Diyala River valley region.
The operation was a great success and caught al Qaeda “completely by surprise,” Lt. Col. Poppas said, noting U.S. ground troops were inserted into the battle space at multiple landing zones by helicopter.
Meanwhile, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthogs,” Army attack helicopters, and Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters fired on the insurgents from the air, Lt. Col. Poppas said. Unmanned aerial vehicles kept an eye on insurgent movements during the battle, he added.
Each of the aircraft was assigned “very specific, detailed areas” for engaging the al Qaeda forces, Lt. Col. Poppas said. In this way, he noted, the enemy lost the ability to control the battle and was blocked by coalition air or ground troops at every turn.
“In a direct firefight, American Soldiers are going to win every time,” Lt. Col. Poppas said, noting there were no U.S. casualties during the operation.
Twenty-nine al Qaeda operatives were killed and 23 others were captured during the operation. Also, three enemy weapons caches were discovered and a safe house was destroyed. Additionally, eight Iraqis who’d been held hostage by the insurgents were freed.
Local Iraqis fed up with al Qaeda had delivered hand-written maps and other information about the enemy that were used during pre-operational planning, Lt. Col. Poppas said.
Clearly, this is more evidence that we MUST pull out of Iraq NOW. Any more operations like this, and we run the danger of winning. Intolerable, just intolerable.