"Last Remnants" Of Terror Group Removed From Area, Officer
Three buildings that had served as an al Qaeda detention and
torture facility were destroyed yesterday by a US military bomber.
A B-1B Lancer used six 500-pound, global positioning system-guided
bombs to level the compound located in Zambraniyah, a village south
of Baghdad, according to officials.
"The precise targeting, synchronized employment and focused
effects that eliminated these facilities demonstrate the
outstanding capability our integrated ground and air team brings to
this fight every day," said US Air Force Col. Robert Gass,
commander of 379th Expeditionary Operations Group.
The targeted compound consisted of three main buildings along
with several smaller shelters. It was apparent that terrorists had
used the facility as a place to hold and torture captives,
officials noted, citing a post-attack discovery of handcuffs
attached to walls -- several of which were blood-splattered -- and
bare wires plugged into nearby electrical outlets.
villagers began standing up to al Qaeda terrorists a little more
than a month ago, officials said.
The joint operation featured US and Iraqi ground forces, as well
as American military air assets, officials said. A concerned local
citizens group also helped provide security during the
US soldiers found several interrogation manuals in the compound
after the air strike.
"This (air strike) removes the last remnants of al Qaeda from
this area," said US Army Lt. Col. Mark Solomon, 6th Squadron, 8th
US Cavalry, commander.
Aubid Abdalla was kidnapped and held for 15 days in the
now-destroyed al Qaeda prison, but later escaped. He said he
witnessed the deaths of a young boy and an old man during his
captivity and that it was a new day for the village as he looked
into the bomb's craters.
"We all feel good," Abdalla, a former Iraqi Army intelligence
officer, said. "It's a dark past that is gone."
Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Aton said he was glad he played a
role in the destruction of the al Qaeda jail and torture facility.
"It was great to be part of this," Aton, a controller who assisted
in coordinating the path of the B-1's precision-guided munitions,
said. "You can tell the people were happy to have this place gone,
and it was awesome to make a difference for them."
The mission's objective was twofold, explained Air Force Lt.
Col. John Nichols, 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron director of
operations and coordinator of the sortie. First, to destroy
facilities used to illegally detain, falsely convict, and torture
innocent Iraqi civilians; second, to bring closure to friends and
families of the victims.
"Words can never replace the loss many Iraqi families suffered,
but we're honored to have been part of a mission to help rid Iraq
of al Qaeda operatives," Nichols said.
The successful mission also "strengthens and reminds the local
leadership and Iraqi people that we are dedicated to the
elimination of al Qaeda in Iraq," the colonel added.
(Aero-News salutes Sgt. Joel Langton, US Air Forces Central
Public Affairs, and Air Force 2nd Lt. Tania Bryan, also attached to