WASHINGTON -- Military officials in Baghdad, Iraq, today said U.S. and Iraqi forces will remain in the Iraqi city of Hit indefinitely to provide a security presence by manning outposts and conducting joint patrols and stabilization operations.
Hit has a population of about 120,000 and is about 100 miles northwest of Baghdad.
Iraqi security forces and U.S. Marines and soldiers from Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, are there destroying weapons caches and clearing terrorists from the city as part of the final stages of Operation Saif (Sword), which began June 28.
Military commanders called resistance during the operation "light" and "sporadic." They added that there were no major battles or air strikes, no fatalities among Iraqi or American forces, and no disruption of basic utilities or medical treatment for Hit citizens.
Though U.S. Marines and Iraqi soldiers have operated from Camp Hit, a small base on the outskirts of the city, this is the first time combined forces will live and work continuously within the city, officials said. Hit joins the major cities of Ramadi, Habbaniyah and Fallujah in having a persistent presence of Iraqi security forces.
Elsewhere, Task Force Baghdad soldiers detained four terror suspects south of Baghdad for questioning and seized 1 million Iraqi dinar and $6,000 in U.S. currency during a house raid July 4. The four suspects are believed to have planned or taken part in a number of kidnappings in the area.
Military officials said no hostages were found at the residence. However, there was evidence of TNT, as well as terrorist propaganda and documents in the home.
In western Abu Ghraib, Task Force Baghdad troops uncovered two weapons caches. One cache, found July 4, contained three rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, seven RPG warheads, two grenades, and 300 rounds of 7.62 mm and 12.5 mm ammunition.
Acting on a tip from a local Iraqi citizen July 1, troops found a cache containing an SA-7 surface-to-air missile, an RPG launcher, a mortar tube, four RPGs, a machine gun, two AK-47 assault rifles with ammunition, and bomb-making materials.