Operation Marne Torch II
Operation Marne Torch II, a month-long operation subordinate to the Corps-level offensive Operation Phantom Strike, was launched by Multi-National Division-Center (MND-C) in September 2007. It targeted Sunni insurgents and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) cadre and leadership in the Arab Jabour region southeast of Baghdad, building on the progress in Operations Marne Torch I and Marne Husky. U.S. forces established a new patrol base, Patrol Base Hawkes, farther to the southeast in Arab Jabour, putting pressure on AQI further south of Baghdad.
During this period the 1-40th (Airborne) Cavalry and the 1-30th Infantry of the 2nd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division pushed hard to develop Concerned Local Citizens groups (now called "Sons of Iraq"), raising a force of between 700-1000 men between Hawr Rajab to the west and Arab Jabour to the east. These groups enabled U.S. forces to target al-Qaeda in Iraq with increasing precision; three high-value targets and approximately 250 mid-level or low-level operatives were killed or captured during Marne Torch II as well as 3 high value targets.
According to Col. Terry Ferrell, commander of the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT), 3rd Infantry Division (ID), al-Qaeda in Iraq suffered a "significant blow" in the Arab Jabour region as a result of U.S. operations in this period.
In mid-October 2007, MND-C transitioned to Operation Marne Anvil.