US Takes Fight To Baquba Suburbs in Iraq – Estimated 500 to 1000 Insurgents Located In Diyala Province North of Baghdad

US Takes Fight To Baquba Suburbs in Iraq – Estimated 500 to 1000 Insurgents Located In Diyala Province North of Baghdad

OUTSKIRTS OF BAQOUBA
DOD

(Best Syndication) The US military launched a new offensive Tuesday in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad. The goal of the mission was to kill or capture an estimated 500 -1000 Al Qaeda fighters and insurgents who were holed up in the western suburbs of Baquba.

Stars and Stripes reports that the American ground forces were backed by Apache helicopter gunships and fighter jets. There were three U.S. brigades taking part in the operation, and one Iraqi army brigade is expected to join the fight on Wednesday.

The Americans involved were part of the 30,000 troop surge announced by President Bush back in January. “Here’s the bottom line: Regardless of how many there are, we are going to go after them,” said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general for operations of the 25th Infantry Division’s Task Force Lightning, which has overall command of the operation.

This offensive is expected to take up to 60 days at which time Baquba will be handed back over to the Iraqis. This has been some of the worst fighting in the past 6 months. It was reported that many of the insurgents in Baquba were displaced by US military operations related to the troop surge in Baghdad.

Not all of the insurgents have left Baghdad. As the US forces advanced insurgents blew-up a huge truck bomb at a Shia mosque back in the center of Baghdad. At least 78 people were killed and 224 wounded. Sheikh Saleh al-Haidari, the mosque's imam said that civilian worshipers were targeted in the explosion.

The Pentagon released this list of soldiers who have died in recent days.

Army 1st Lt. Frank B. Walkup IV, 23, of Woodbury, Tenn., died June 16 in Kirkuk, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his position during dismounted operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Army Staff Sgt. Roy P. Lewsader Jr., 36, of Belleville, Ill., died June 16 in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle. He was assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Army Sgt. Danny R. Soto, 24, of Houston, Texas; and Army Spc. Zachary A. Grass, 34, of Beach City, Ohio, died June 16 in Rashidiyah, Iraq, when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.

Army Pfc. Michael P. Pittman, 34, of Davenport, Iowa, died June 15 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley.

Army Staff Sgt. Michael A. Bechert, 24, of New Castle, Ind., died June 14 in San Antonio from injuries suffered when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb, May 30, in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany.

Army Cpl. Dustin R. Brisky, 26, of Round Rock, Texas, died June 14 in Tallil, Iraq, of wounds suffered from an explosion. He was assigned to the Army Reserve’s 952nd Engineer Company, Paris, Texas. The unit was attached to the 92nd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

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By Tom Madison
Best Syndication News Writer

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