HADITHA CITY, Iraq --
Iraqi Security Force took a big stride forward Saturday when they planned and executed their own security operation for the first time in the Haditha Triad.
Intelligence was collected over several weeks by ISF and objectives were identified during a joint-combined session.
The Iraqi Police, Army, and the newly added Provisional Security Force, who all comprise the ISF, worked together to successfully conduct the operation.
“Today was a good example where several organizations were able to function together under the leadership of the IP and were coordinated through a Joint Coordination Center,” said Maj.
Kevin C. Clark, 36, executive officer of 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment.
Coalition Forces have been working extensively with the ISF, but stepped back during the operation as the ISF executed the mission.
“This is the first all-ISF operation in the Triad,” said Lt. Col. David G. Bellon, 42, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, commanding officer, who is from San Diego. “They used their intelligence, chose their objectives and planned the (operation).”
The operation showed that the ISF can provide the adequate security that the Iraqi people need.
“We’re trying to have the Iraqis gain confidence and demonstrate that confidence,” said Bellon. “(We want) them to realize that they can do this without us and to have the people see the same thing.”
“When (the people) see the (ISF patrols), it gives them confidence that the security force can handle it,” added Bellon.
During the course of the day, the IP cleared abandoned homes based on the intelligence ISF gathered.
“There are many abandoned buildings in the area that the insurgents are suspected of using,” said Clark. “We want to deny any safe haven for the insurgents,” said Clark, who is from Smithville, Mo. “These abandoned buildings have been said to be active recruiting sites for insurgents.”
A number of Iraqis were also taken in for questioning by the IP.
Clark commented that the IP need to persistently question these Iraqis in order to continue the cycle of information which will lead to future operations.
“The next step is that we continue with ISF patrols, and when the Marines leave we can have full control of Iraqi law which is very strict,” said Maj. Abrahim, Police Chief of Haditha City.