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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Article: OP Geronimo Strike Finds AL Qaeda Safe Houses


A paratrooper with Company B, 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, searches the area outside one of the al-Qaida safe houses discovered during Operation Geronimo Strike.

KALSU, Iraq - Paratroopers discovered, then destroyed, three al Qaeda safe houses during an early-morning raid near Jurf As Sukhr July 3.

Operation Geronimo Strike, conducted to prevent anti-Iraqi operations and attacks, was an air assault raid on Kalsu's Fish Farms area.

Company B, 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division Paratroopers discovered several houses used by al Qaeda to meet, train and hide weapons.

"Tonight we did an air assault raid into an area used by the insurgency. Basically, we did a search on what we thought were safe houses for terrorists," said Capt. Charles Canon, Company B commander.

While the Paratroopers were searching the area, they discovered two houses filled with weapons and explosives. A third house was booby trapped.

"In one of the buildings, we found an IED in the process of being made, we found a terrorist safe house, and in a third building, we found a bunch of propaganda and materials, CDs, and some cameras and things like that," continued the Orlando, Fla., native. "It definitely seemed like a propaganda publishing house, or something of that sort."

Because one of the houses was also booby trapped, the commander called in AH-64 Apache helicopters to destroy the three buildings. Paratroopers found two anti-aircraft rounds in a fourth house, which was not destroyed.

With the area searched and the safe houses destroyed, the Paratroopers returned to Forward Operating Base Kalsu.

"This was our first company air assault in this sector. I think we did a very good job," Canon said. "The aviation, the (tactical operations center) and the men of Blackfoot did a great job and the mission went very well."


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