Friday, September 7, 2007

Lightning Hammer II Launched

Multi-National Force - Iraq:

TIKRIT, Iraq – Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces continued their relentless pursuit of al-Qaeda in northern Iraq by launching Operation Lightning Hammer II, Wednesday evening.

The operation, involving approximately 14,000 ISF, partnered with more than 12,000 CF, is spearheaded by Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnered with members of the 2nd and 3rd Iraqi Army Divisions, and Iraqi Police forces stationed throughout Ninewa province.

In addition to the thousands of Soldiers and their ISF counterparts participating in Lightning Hammer II, attack helicopters, close-air support, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Stryker Vehicles and tanks compliment the combined effort. This operation follows Lightning Hammer I in the series of offensives to deny al-Qaeda safe haven in the provinces of Salah ad Din, Ninewa, Diyala and Kirkuk. Operation Lightning Hammer I, from Aug. 13 to Sept. 1, succeeded in driving enemy elements out of the Diyala River Valley, northeast of Baqouba.

“Al-Qaeda cells were driven from Baqouba in Diyala due to Operation Arrowhead Ripper in June and July and then pursued in the Diyala River Valley during Operation Lighting Hammer in August,” said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Task Force Lightning and Multinational Division-North. “Our main goal with Lightning Hammer II is to continue to pursue and apply constant pressure to the terrorist cells operating in MND-N, and destroy them where they attempt to hide.”

“Our combined forces’ commitment to hunt al Qaeda and its operatives remains as strong as ever,” said Mixon. “We will not rest until al Qaeda in Iraq is driven from northern Iraq, and Iraqi citizens have a safe and secure homeland.”

Confederate Yankee had this story yesterday, speculating that the major media outlets may have been caught flatfooted.

It should come as no surprise, since most of the MSM reports come from "correspondents" camped out in the grueling, squalid conditions of the "Rashid Bureau," well inside the Green Zone.

In an update to the post, CY notes:

Update: I checked in with the Task Force Lightning PAO, and he told me that there are a total of 11 embedded journalists in Northern Iraq. A grand total of one is from a major wire service, and five of them are in Diyala. The remaining northern provinces of Ninewa, Salah Ad Din, and Kirkuk have a total of two embedded journalists each.

How many of them are actually covering operations related to Operation Lightning Hammer II is unknown.

Stay tuned to the blogosphere if you want up to the minute reports...

Long War Journal, Bill Roggio's new home, is certain to have complete, up to date information.