In a special update to The American Thinker, CENTCOM has provided a series of stories about on—going combat operations in North—Central Iraq and Al—Anbar Province.  While the media have been focused on Hurricane Katrina, Coalition and Iraqi forces have stepped up efforts this past week to stem the flow of terrorists and materiel coming into Iraq from Syria, and are tightening security in preparation for upcoming elections.

Operation Restoring Rights continues in Tal Afar

BAGHDAD, Iraq — In Tal Afar, Iraqi security forces and Coalition Forces continued operations Sept. 10 to purge the city of terrorists, detaining 41 individuals suspected of terrorist activity during a cordon and search.

Security forces also seized a mortar system with multiple rounds of ammunition and a cache consisting of hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

'Operation Restoring Rights is being conducted to remove terrorists and foreign fighters operating in Tal Afar. This operation is in support of the Iraqi government's efforts to bring safety and security to the citizens of the city,' said Col. Billy J. Buckner, spokesman for the Multi—National Corps—Iraq.

Task Force Liberty joint operations capture terrorists and weapons

TIKRIT, Iraq — Across North—Central Iraq this past week, deliberate raids by Iraqi Security Forces and Task Force Liberty Soldiers resulted in the capture of suspected terrorists and weapons, helping secure the region for upcoming elections.

The 116th Brigade Combat Team of Task Force Liberty and Iraqi security forces led the way in deliberate raids in Kirkuk Province this week, netting several wanted terrorists, an array of exotic weaponry to include a Sterling light machine—gun and a bag of swords, and Ba'ath Party relics including outdated ID cards bearing the image of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Multi—national Forces capture Al—Qaida terrorist brigade leader

BAGHDAD, Iraq —— Multi—National Forces captured Ammar 'Abd—Al—Hafiz 'Abd Muhummad (aka Ammar Amam Wakhtif or Sheik Ammar), an admitted terrorist and leader of the Nu'man Brigade, in a raid earlier in September in the Ramadi area.

Sheik Ammar oversaw and directed the day—to—day operations of the organization. He ordered numerous vehicle borne improvised explosive device and improvised explosive device bombings and other direct attacks against Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces.

Sheik Ammar took over as leader the brigade when Muhammad Daham was captured in May.

Operation Cyclone begins

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq —— Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces have launched a cordon and search operation against a known terrorist safe haven in the western Al Anbar province town of Rutbah.

Operation Zoba'a (Cyclone) began in the early morning hours with the objectives of rooting out Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating within the area and disrupting terrorist support systems in and around the city.

For the past several months, terrorists within Rutbah have escalated their intimidation and murder campaign against the local populace and city government officials. The resulting effect was an increased ability to move freely within the area and a base for them to launch attacks against innocent civilians, Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces.

As with all coalition operations, strict measures are taken to prevent civilian casualties and unnecessary collateral damage to property.