Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Troops, Locals Celebrate Reopening of Market in Al Haider

26 February 2007
By Spc. Alexis Harrison
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs

BAGHDAD – The Al Doura District was considered by many to be one of the most dangerous places in all of Iraq. Sectarian violence had taken over the streets, and the people of the community fled to find safety, until, Multi-National Division – Baghdad and Iraqi security forces began to focus efforts in the district to stop the bloodshed.

Troops from 1st Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, also known as Task Force 1-14th Cavalry, attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and community leaders came together to celebrate the grand reopening of the marketplace Feb. 18.

For the Soldiers and the community, it was a clear message of the ongoing improvements being made in the area by coalition forces and community leaders.

"I'd like to thank coalition forces and the local counsel in Al Hadher in their efforts to reopen this market," said District Advisory Counsel Chairman, Sabeeh Radhi Al Ka'abi. "The improvement of the security will help to rebuild Baghdad and bring more opportunities to the people counting on the coalition.

"The market manager, Abu Haider, said this is an undeniable improvement from the way things used to be for his neighborhood and the market.

"The market had been empty because the security in the area was very poor and civilians were being targeted by terrorists," Haider said. "Recently, coalition forces raided the area many times to help chase the terrorists away. Now that the market has reopened, people can start to return to their normal routines."

A man selling fruit in the market, who wished not to be named, said he and his family are grateful for what's being done for his neighborhood, and he hopes to see improvements continue.

"A few months ago, no one could come to the market because terrorists were running the city as they wanted. Now, everything has changed,” he said. “The Iraqi security force and coalition forces are everywhere. People can come and go to the market as they please. We hope the ISF and coalition can keep the security they have now and improve even more of the city. The relation between the people and the ISF is good."

Capt. Eric Fedak from Company B, 414th Civil Affairs Battalion attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, said bringing the Iraqi national police into the project was just as important as the market revitalization itself.

"We've been trying to re-introduce the national police into the area," said the Ashville, N.C., native. “With events like this, hopefully, the people will be able to rely a lot more on the national police.

"Along with the upgraded security and the promise of hope came a new power generator for the neighborhood. Fedak said that there are plans for another generator to be dropped off along with upgrades to the road barriers.

Reposted from United States CENTCOM Multi-National Force Newsletter

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