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Press Release 05-047 Point of Contact:
1st Lt Eric M. Knapp, Public Affairs Officer
May 17, 2004

1st Marine Division Opens Detention Facilities to Iraqi leaders


The 1st Marine Division is currently focused on destroying Anti-Iraqi Forces in the Al Anbar province. Simultaneously, the Marines are establishing patient, persistent presence in the key areas throughout the province while supporting the development of competent, trustworthy, Iraqi Security Forces and conducting civil military operations.


RAMADI – Marines and soldiers assigned to the 1st Marine Division opened the gates to a detention facility in Ar Ramadi to allow local leaders to inspect conditions and gather first-hand knowledge from interaction with detainees.

Seventeen Iraqi officials, including the governor of Al Anbar Province, toured the detention facility Saturday. The group received a brief describing how the facility operates and how detainees are cared for. The guests were able to see a typical cell and screening room. Several cells were opened and the guests were allowed to speak with some of the detainees.

“Today’s visit was very positive,” said Sheik Fawasi Fetkhan, one of the local leaders who visited the facility. “The release of innocent [detainees] will be positive for our relationship with coalition forces and the tribes will look at it as a very positive thing.”

Marines also met with 48 area Imams for the Mosque Improvement Project II, a project that will fund repairs and improvements to their mosques. This project is a continuation of the previous mosque improvement initiative, which started Apr. 29.

Lt. Col. Paul J. Kennedy, commanding officer for 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment based in Ar Ramadi, spoke with the Imams. He thanked them for coming to the meeting. He fielded questions and concerns from the Imams in addition to discussing the upcoming improvements available to their mosques.

The project will entail completing $1,200 in repairs and renovations for each of the 48 mosques while employing about 10 Iraqis per mosque over a two-week period.


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