Operation Iron Reaper
Operation Iron Reaper, the follow-on to Iron Hammer, was launched on November 27, 2007. It was a division-level operation, led by Major General Mark Hertling, the commander of Multi-National Division-North (MND-N). Like its predecessors, Iron Reaper was a part of the ongoing Corps offensive, Operation Phantom Strike. The aim of Iron Reaper was to continue to pursue and dismantle al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and other insurgent elements operating in MND-N. In addition, Iron Reaper worked to build on tribal reconciliation efforts across the battlespace. As a result of reconciliation efforts during Operation Iron Hammer, a new Concerned Local Citizens (now called "Sons of Iraq") group was launched in Hawijah, southwest of Kirkuk. This area has served as a refuge for AQI in the past, and current operations are exploiting the growth of the CLC program to keep AQI off balance and on the run. The rural areas south and southwest of Kirkuk witnessed a growing AQI presence in the fall of 2007, as the organization was pushed out of strongholds to the south in the Tigris and Diyala River Valleys.
Four U.S. brigades participated in Operation Iron Reaper, along with three Iraqi Army divisions, likely the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th IA. Operation Iron Reaper targeted the Khalis Corridor in Western Diyala province, certain pockets in Salah ad Din province and the Za'ab Triangle and Western Mosul in Ninawa province.