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IED-Making Site Destroyed; Iraqi Force Frees Hostage

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2006 – Coalition forces destroyed an improvised explosive device-manufacturing site in Fallujah, Iraq, yesterday, and Iraqi forces freed an Iraqi hostage March 6 in Balad, military officials in Iraq reported.

The coalition forces were conducting a raid looking for an al Qaeda in Iraq military operations leader and discovered the IED manufacturing site in a terrorist safe house about 10 miles east of Fallujah. Coalition forces destroyed all equipment and explosives in place. Troops detained five men during the raid. The men will be questioned about their knowledge of and involvement in terrorist activities.

In Balad, a late-night operation by Iraqi counterterrorism forces east of Taji freed one hostage and led to the detention of two others believed to be involved in the hostage taking. Soldiers from the 2nd Counterterrorism Battalion, 1st Iraqi Special Operations Forces Brigade, planned and conducted an assault that freed an Iraqi government official who, according to sources, was to be executed later that night after spending almost four days in captivity.

A senior U.S. special operations forces adviser responsible for training Iraqi counterterrorism forces said this is the type of mission they train for. "They were able to execute quickly and make timely decisions on the ground," the advisor said. "It provided an outstanding situation in which to showcase the abilities of the unit."

The hostage was handcuffed to a bed in an isolated room of the house in which he was held. He had been badly beaten and was bleeding from his mouth when the Iraqi forces discovered him. He was quickly cut free and taken to another room, where he received medical attention and was able to call his family to tell them he was safe, U.S. officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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