Operation Phantom Thunder

Operation Phantom Thunder, the largest coordinated military operation since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, began on June 15, 2007. A corps-level offensive, Phantom Thunder was led by Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, the commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. The overarching objective of Phantom Thunder was to stop insurgents in the provinces from supporting violence in Baghdad.  To do so, it aimed to disrupt al Qaeda’s terrorist bases and networks by killing or capturing key terrorist leaders in all of their major bases in Iraq at once.

From January to June 2007, U.S. forces conducted preliminary or ‘shaping’ operations to set the conditions for the offensive in Baghdad and the belts. During that time, five additional brigades arrived in Iraq as part of the "Surge." They were deployed into Baghdad and its belts, in preparation for Operation Phantom Thunder.

All Multi-National Divisions participated in Phantom Thunder, and they were joined by the Iraqi Security Forces. Phantom Thunder consisted of simultaneous offensives by U.S. forces throughout central Iraq. The Multi-National Division-North (MND-N) cleared the long-festering city of Baqubah and its outlying areas northeast of Baghdad. The Multi-National Division-Center (MND-C) cleared the areas east and southeast of Baghdad, including the critical al Qaeda stronghold in Arab Jabour, immediately south of the capital. Operations in MND-C also destroyed al Qaeda’s ability to transport weapons along the Tigris River and to send reinforcements from the Euphrates to the Tigris. The Multi-National Division-West (MND-W) cleared al Qaeda’s sanctuaries west of Baghdad, from the capital to Fallujah, and all the way to the shores of Lake Tharthar northwest of the capital. Meanwhile, Multi-National Division-Baghdad (MND-B) continued to clear important areas of the city and areas to its immediate north and west.

Operation Phantom Thunder included a number of sub-operations. Most important, at the division level, Operation Arrowhead Ripper was the main offensive in MND-N; Operations Marne Torch I and Marne Avalanche were the consecutive division-level offensives in MND-C during Operation Phantom Thunder. Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon continued in MND-B.

Phantom Thunder concluded on August 13, 2007, when Operation Phantom Strike, began. By that time, Iraqi and Coalition forces had conducted 142 battalion-level joint operations. 6,702 suspects were detained; 1,196 enemies were killed; and 419 others were wounded. 382 high-value targets were also killed or captured during Phantom Thunder. Additionally, 1,113 weapons caches were discovered. And more than 2,000 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and vehicle-borne IEDs were found and neutralized.