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Officials Release More Details on Weekend Operation

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2006 – U.S. officials in Iraq have released further details on an operation in a Baghdad neighborhood yesterday.

The mission, carried out by Iraqi commandos and soldiers from the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 1st Iraqi Special Operations Forces Brigade, consisted of a coordinated operation to capture and detain insurgents responsible for "kidnapping and execution activities," officials said in a statement today.

The Iraqi troops killed 16 insurgents and wounded three others during a house-to-house search on an objective with multiple structures in the Adhamiyah neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad. The troops also detained 18 other individuals, discovered a significant weapons cache and secured the release of an Iraqi being held hostage, according to the release.

The weapons cache discovered at the objective included 32 AK-47 assault rifles, five grenades, four rocket-propelled grenades, two RPG launchers, two RPK heavy machine guns, 12 crush switch indicators used to make improvised explosive devices, and several rounds of ammunition. The cache was destroyed on the scene along with two vehicles that contained weapons and IED-making material.

The hostage, a dental technician with the Ministry of Health, was kidnapped earlier yesterday as he was walking outside of his office. During the next 12 hours, his captors beat him and threatened to torture him, according to the release. After the Iraqi soldiers rescued him, they took him to an undisclosed location, where he received medical care from Iraqi doctors. No further information on his condition was available.

No Iraqi soldiers were killed during the operation. One Iraqi soldier was wounded in the arm, but his injury is not life threatening. The three wounded insurgents received medical treatment on the scene, officials said.

U.S. special operations forces advised the Iraqi troops during the mission, which was conducted at a time that mitigated risk to innocent Iraqi bystanders and minimized the risk of collateral damage, U.S officials said.

Press reports cite Iraqi insurgents claiming U.S. soldiers killed innocent civilians in a mosque. However, the military news release stated, no mosques were entered or damaged during this operation.

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