Operation Arrowhead Ripper

Operation Arrowhead Ripper, the Multi-National Division-North offensive effort during Operation Phantom Thunder, cleared the city of Baqubah.  Following preliminary operations to establish a presence in Diyala beyond its Forward Operating Base, Coalition Forces launched Operation Arrowhead Ripper, a sub-operation of the Phantom Thunder corps-offensive, on June 19, 2007.

The primary aim of Arrowhead Ripper was to clear al-Qaeda from Baqubah, and secure the city. From June to August, this was done via kinetic operations (combat operations in the city and the province) and non-kinetic operations (aid for the population and tribal reconciliation initiatives). U.S. forces also aimed to prevent insurgents that had fled Baqubah from escaping and reorganizing elsewhere. Accordingly, they conducted blocking operations northwest of Baqubah, in the Khalis corridor, and south of the city, near Khan Bani Saad. U.S. forces also conducted operations during Arrowhead Ripper to disrupt enemy lines of communication and deny al Qaeda any areas for safe haven. Following the clearing of Baqubah, Coalition forces also began to reconnoiter and destroy al Qaeda positions northeast of Baqubah along the Diyala River Valley.

Three U.S. brigades participated in Arrowhead Ripper—the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division; the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division; and the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which led the main effort clearing of Baqubah. The Iraqi Security Forces and concerned local citizens’ movement also participated in the offensive operations. In all, nearly 10,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops were concentrated in Diyala Province during Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

Arrowhead Ripper defeated al Qaeda in Baqubah. During the operation, the al Qaeda emir of Baqubah was killed, along with over 100 other insurgents. 424 suspected insurgents were detained. 129 weapons caches were captured or destroyed. Approximately 250 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found and reduced, including 38 house-borne IEDs and 12 vehicle-borne IEDs.

In mid-August, MND-N transitioned to Operation Lightning Hammer I, a part of the new corps offensive, Operation Phantom Strike.