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F-16s destroy insurgent mortar team

November 17, 2007 (by Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky) - Two Air Force F-16s destroyed a mobile insurgent mortar team consisting of three al-Qaeda members, a mortar launcher and van Nov. 14 in Adwaniyah using Maverick laser-guided missiles.

F-16B firing a Maverick in a test

Paratroopers from 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, currently attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, responded to an initial small arms fire engagement against a Concerned Local Citizens checkpoint in Adwaniyah. After driving the insurgents away, the Paratroopers performed an aerial reconnaissance of the surrounding areas.

While conducting the scouting mission, Coalition aircraft spotted the insurgent mortar team loading a van with a mortar tube and tripod. A pair of Air Force F-16 fighter jets were called to engage the van after three men entered it and began driving away.

The jets engaged the van with one Maverick laser-guided missile, resulting in the destruction of the weapons systems and three enemies killed.

The insurgent casualties brought the estimated deaths of al-Qaeda members in Iraqi to 20 over the past two days. On Nov. 13, an estimated 15 insurgent fighters were killed in a day-long battle in Adwaniyah.

Al-Qaeda has stepped up attacks in the recent days due to the implementation of a Concerned Local Citizens program in Adwaniyah. Al-Qaeda has been attacking the newly-formed program in an attempt to stop residents from standing up against them.

"This operation is typical of al-Qaeda in our operational area. They attempt to use intimidation and attack where they think they can cause the local population to feel unsafe," said Maj. Stephen Lutsky, plans and operations officer, S3, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. "We were prepared this time and worked in conjunction with both the Iraqi army and Concerned Local Citizens to ensure they stopped al-Qaeda from destroying the security we have emplaced in the town of Adwaniyah. They will try again and will fail again."

An example of the success similar Concerned Local Citizens programs are experiencing, was seen in two separate incidents Nov. 14 in Arab Jabour and Hawr Rajab.

In both instances, concerned citizens brought a suspected member of al-Qaeda to Coalition Forces.

One detainee was taken to Soldiers of Company A, 1st Battalion, 30th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., Fort Stewart, Ga., and the other to Paratroopers of Troop A, 1-40th Cav. Regt. Both men were detained for questioning.

Courtesy of 2nd BCT, 3rd Infantery Divison Public Affairs