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Iraqis Capture Murder Cell Leader, Coalition Troops Find Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2006 – Special Iraqi army forces, working with coalition advisors, captured the alleged leader of a murder and kidnapping cell in an early-morning raid yesterday in eastern Baghdad, military officials reported.

The cell leader is suspected of directing the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Sunni and Shiia Muslim citizens in Baghdad and has connections to illegal armed groups there, officials said.

He also is believed to be connected to attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces. No civilian or military casualties were reported, officials said, and the raid resulted in minimal property damage.

The operation was conducted as part of Operation Together Forward with the goal of capturing criminals inciting sectarian violence, denying them sanctuary, and providing for a safe and secure Iraq, officials said.

Meanwhile, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers seized two weapons caches and detained seven suspected terrorists in and around Baghdad Oct. 15 and yesterday.

Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, seized a weapons cache in Yusufiyah, south of Baghdad. The cache consisted of a 155 mm artillery round, a 105 mm round, six 60 mm artillery rounds, a 120 mm artillery round and two 82 mm rounds.

In a separate incident, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, detained seven suspected terrorists and seized a weapons cache while conducting random searches Oct. 15 in Huriyah.

The cache contained a PKC assault rifle, an RPK machine gun, 11 AK-47 assault rifles, a G3 rifle, a handgun, two Browning high-powered rifles, a shotgun, six 57 mm air-to-ground rockets rigged as homemade bombs, more than 5,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, 42 rounds of 9 mm ammunition, 38 rounds of Smith and Wesson .38-caliber ammunition and various bomb-making materials.

The suspects were held for further questioning. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the munitions.

As of Oct. 15, Iraqi security forces and Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers had cleared more than 95,000 buildings, 80 mosques and 65 muhallas, detained more than 214 terrorist suspects, seized more than 1,700 weapons, registered more than 750 weapons and found more than 41 weapons caches in support of Operation Together Forward. The combined forces had also removed more than 210,810 cubic meters of trash from the streets of Baghdad.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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