Lake Tharthar Raid
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|Lake Tharthar Raid|
|Part of the Post-invasion Iraq|
|New Iraqi Army||Iraqi insurgents|
|Casualties and losses|
|7 killed, 6 wounded||84 killed, 1 captured|
The Lake Tharthar Raid was an Iraqi commando raid on a large insurgent training camp at Lake Tharthar on March 23, 2005.
The training camp, located in a remote region near Lake Tharthar, which is next to the Sunni Anbar and Salahuddin provinces, was the largest guerrilla training camp that had been discovered in the war by then, according to Iraqi officials. The camp was shared by Ba’ath party loyalists and members of Al-Qaeda. The insurgents had planned to attack the city of Samarra, which was located some 55 kilometers east of the lake, with a large number of car bombs. Most of the insurgents came from Arab countries, but men from the Philippines were also later confirmed to be among the dead insurgents. The remote site contained ramshackle huts and tents, along with boats used by insurgents to cross the lake. The camp was well defended with guard towers, bunkers and barbed wire. There was an estimated 120 insurgents in the camp at the time.
Between 75 and 100 Iraqi commandos as well as 9 American Cavalry Scouts from 3/69 Armor Battalion/1BCT/3ID and one local national interpreter were involved in the raid. As they approached the camp and came to only about a 400 meters from the camp the commandos encountered heavy fire from around 100 insurgents. The Iraqi commandos called in support from the American military, which sent in troop reinforcements and attack helicopters. The battle lasted one hour. The American air support killed 50 insurgents and the commandos killed another 34 during the battle. Many of those killed were reportedly Saudis and Syrians. The insurgents evacuated their positions about two hours into the battle. It was estimated that some 30 insurgents managed to escape during the fighting by boat across the lake. Helicopter pilots observed some twenty boats escaping during the raid. This was because the assault force conducted the raid prematurely. The area was not surrounded by security forces until after the fighters made their escape.
Seven Iraqi commandos were killed in the raid and six were wounded. The majority of the dead were found with their throats slit. US Forces present related that the majority of the Iraqi Commandos did not actively fight. Instead, they laid in a ditch crying . This information was not reported by the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. In addition 84 insurgents were killed and the commandos said that they captured one Algerian. US Forces present however, were not able to confirm any captured enemy. After entering the camp, Iraqi commandos found non-Iraqi passports, training publications, propaganda documents, weapons and ammunition. According to the papers found some of the insurgents were: Moroccans, Algerians, Sudanese, Saudi, Syrian and there was even one Egyptian. Iraqi forces also seized 30 boats at the camp which were used at the lake. SPC Ray Michael Fuhrmann II (KIA 18 August 2005, Samarra, Iraq) was awarded the Silver Star for his actions as the acting medic during the battle.