Bill Roggio's Iraq Report:
First, progress from Phantom Thunder:
Since Phantom Thunder began in mid-June, US and Iraqi security forces have killed 1,196 extremists, wounded 419, and detained 6,702 suspected insurgents, Odierno said. Of those killed or captured, 382 are considered high-value targets. Over the past two months, US and Iraqi security forces have found 1,113 weapons caches, 2,299 IEDs and disabled 52 car bombs. “The number of found-and-cleared IEDs, vehicle-borne IEDs and caches are approximately 50 percent higher than the same period last year, due in large part to effective tips provided by concerned Iraqi citizens,” Odierno said.
Phantom Thunder has had a noticeable effect on the security situation in Baghdad and beyond. “Total attacks are on a month-long decline and are at their lowest levels since August of 2006,” Odierno said. “Attacks against civilians are at a six-month low, IED attacks are a two-month decline and have a 45 percent found and cleared rate.” Inside Baghdad, civilian deaths are at the lowest levels since February 2006, when al Qaeda in Iraq destroyed the dome of the Golden Mosque in Samarra and incited the year-plus-long wave of sectarian reprisals, driven by brutal attacks by al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army.
Phantom Strike began August 15th, and is:
designed to strike at al Qaeda and Shia terror bases largely in the rural regions in Baghdad and the Belts. The operation is fueled by intelligence derived from Phantom Thunder. In today’s briefing, Odierno noted that “with the elimination of safe havens and support zones due to Phantom Thunder, al Qaeda and Shi'a extremists have been forced into ever-shrinking areas, and it is my intent to pursue and disrupt their operations.”
How confident is MNF-Iraq? As Odierno told the AP, “If we can, we want to finish them off,” he said of al-Qaida.