British and Iraqi officers confirm target locations during an operation in Basra. (Photo by Cpl. Rob Knight, RLC)
BASRA, Iraq (June 27, 2008) — Operation Charge of the Knights, a joint operation involving UK Soldiers and the Iraqi Army, which aims to restore order and improve security in Basra, is making further progress.
The Iraqi Army continues to demonstrate its commitment to improving the security situation in the city, carrying out a number of vehicle check points in recent days. Inspections were carried out on a number of vehicles which were going in and out of the city.In addition, numerous house searches were carried out, leading to multiple arrests of suspected militants. Troops also found 140 rounds of 150mm high explosive shells in one area of Basra.
Operation Charge of the Knights, which began in March, is now into its 14th phase. The operation has been one of the key drivers in bringing peace and stability to the streets of Basra in recent months. Elements of the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police Service, with their US and UK Military Transition Teams (MiTTs), can now be seen working in the city.
The MiTTs are working closely with the Iraqi Security Forces and local contractors as pavements are replaced, sewers cleared and rubbish removed from the streets.
In addition elements of the 26th of 7th Division and the 50th, 51st, and 52nd Brigades from the 14th Division Iraqi Army have conducted a number of arms finds and arrests, with teams planning the operations without UK assistance.
"Once again this operation was fully planned and executed by the Iraqi Army," said Maj. Tom Holloway, spokesman for the Multi-National Division - South East. "These operations demonstrate their capability, professionalism and commitment to the residents of Al Basrah Province. It is enormously encouraging to see the progress made by the Iraqi Army in maintaining the security of the city and its residents.
"Iraqi confidence and capabilities are improving by the day with our help," he continued. "The overall feeling here is upbeat and cautiously optimistic. We will continue to push for security of Basra by helping the Iraqi Army."
The 50th, 51st, and 52nd Brigades continue to be mentored by their respective UK MiTT. The MiTTs are embedded with their Iraqi counterparts offering advice and guidance on request. MiTT responsibilities are currently undertaken by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, 2 Royal Anglian, 9th and 12th Royal Lancers and 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland. All are part of 7th Armoured Brigade on Op Telic 12.