U.S. Marines, Iraqi soldiers complete offensive in western province discovering car bomb factory

800 U.S. Marines and 180 Iraqi soldiers involved in a week-long military offensive in western Iraq discovered a car bomb factory and detained 36 insurgents.

Twenty Marines were killed last week as Operation Quick Strike got underway Aug. 3. A group of six Marine snipers were killed Aug. 1 near the town of Haditha. Two days later, 14 Marines and a civilian translator died when their armored vehicle was hit by a massive blast.

The offensive is among several campaigns in recent months targeting insurgents and foreign fighters in western Anbar province.

Nine car bombs were discovered during the sweep, the Marines statement said. Three were identified by a local resident while the remaining six were discovered inside a garage where insurgents were assembling explosive-rigged vehicles.

The factory was in the northern part of Haqlaniyah, one of a cluster of towns along the volatile Euphrates River Valley, long believed to be a stronghold of Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters.

Also during the operation, 28 improvised bombs were discovered. Most were planted along the road but others were rigged to destory entire buildings, the statement said.

During the operation, 36 suspected insurgents were also detained.

"This is another operation, similar to those conducted before, that has disrupted the insurgents' ability to operate freely in the western Al Anbar region," Col. Stephen W. Davis, commanding officer, Regimental Combat Team-2, was quoted as saying by the AP.

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