Iraqis praised in Phantom Phoenix

Jan. 18, 2008 at 8:32 PM
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BAQUBAH, Iraq, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq highlighted various developments from a recent al-Qaida and reconstruction operation called Phantom Phoenix.

Army Lt. Gen Raymond Odierno said the five- brigade troop surge and the work of Iraqi and community forces did serious damage to al-Qaida in Iraq and provided a level of security to allow reconstruction to gain momentum, the American Forces Press Service said.

Odierno said Phantom Phoenix resulted in the detention of more than 1,000 suspects as well as the discovery of three car-bomb factories and more than 350 weapons caches since its launch Jan. 8.

He said the deployment of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division assisted in the efforts and is an example of the increased capability of Iraqi security forces.

"With less than a week's notice, (the brigade) … was alerted to deploy from Anbar province to Diyala province to support combat operations in the Diyala River Valley," he said. "This was a good Iraqi decision and was executed solely by the Iraqis."

Civil service corps operating under Phantom Phoenix delivered micro-grants and assisted with the development of vocational technical courses.

"We were able to do this without giving up any previously gained ground because of the improved capacity of Iraqi security forces and concerned local citizens," Odierno said.

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