Two Soldiers Killed, But Coalition, Iraqi Forces Preventing More Attacks
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 17, 2005 Two American soldiers in Iraq were killed by improvised explosive devices July 16. Another two soldiers were wounded.
In the first incident, a soldier assigned to the 155th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), died July 16 of wounds received July 15 from a car-bomb attack. The incident reportedly occurred during combat operations near Iskandariyah.
Also on July 16, at about 4:00 p.m. in the Kirkuk province, an IED killed one Task Force Liberty soldier and wounded two other soldiers. The two wounded soldiers were taken to a coalition forces medical treatment facility. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
In other news from Iraq, Iraqi and coalition security forces are enjoying increasing success at nabbing terrorists and preventing terrorist attacks, thanks to growing cooperation and intelligence from the Iraqi people, officials said today.
For example, in Baghdad on July 14, an Iraqi citizen reportedly told an Iraqi army patrol that he'd found a weapons cache in that city's al-Jamea'a district. When the soldiers investigated, they found seven rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, bomb-making materials, one set of body armor, an ammunition vest with ammunition, several ski masks, two backpacks, and a number of handwritten documents, officials said.
"This is another example of how ordinary Iraqi citizens who are fed up with terrorism and terrorists are coming forward and doing something about it," Army Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a Task Force Baghdad spokesman, said. "Iraqis are gaining more confidence in their security forces and providing them with information that can be used to help disrupt insurgent cells."
Iraqi security forces and Task Force Baghdad have established e-mail and telephone "tip lines" for Iraqi citizens to report suspicious behavior. Officials said these tip lines have been effective tools to gather intelligence on terrorist suspects and terrorist activities.
In all, Iraqi army and Task Force Baghdad Soldiers captured nine terrorist suspects, including two specifically targeted individuals, during a series of July 14 operations in the capital city, officials said.
One of the terrorist suspects taken into custody is thought to be a close assistant to a known terrorist. He is believed to be responsible for providing instructions and money to leaders of terrorist cells operating in the Harbiya district of central Baghdad.
In a separate July 14 operation at 11:30 p.m., Iraqi soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, raided a suspected terrorist safe house in the Ameriyah district of western Baghdad, officials said. When the soldiers approached the house, terrorists inside reportedly fired on them. The Iraqi soldiers returned fire and, in less than half an hour, detained three men in the house, including the second specifically targeted terrorist suspect, officials said.
Elsewhere in Baghdad, on July 16, Iraqi police reportedly prevented a suicide bomber from killing scores of Iraqis during a funeral for children killed in a July 13 car-bomb attack in eastern Baghdad. The Iraqi police were providing security at the funeral and noticed that a suspicious adult male was approaching the funeral procession, officials said.
The Iraqi police stopped the man, searched him, and discovered he was wearing a suicide vest. A team of explosives experts safely removed the vest before the terrorist could detonate it. No one was injured in the failed attack, officials said.
"The Iraqi police showed incredible bravery," said Col. Joseph DiSalvo, commander of U.S. forces in Rusafa, which is in eastern Baghdad. "They noticed a suicide bomber, and they subdued him before he could detonate his ball-bearing-filled vest."
DiSalvo said the terrorist suicide bomber was high on drugs and is being treated for a potential overdose. He is being detained and eventually will be turned over to the Iraqi justice system.
"This is an incredibly heinous crime," DiSalvo added. "The bomber, who is from Libya, came here to kill the grieving parents of the children who were killed (July 13). I cannot imagine a worse crime."
An Iraqi citizen who attended the funeral reportedly praised the Iraqi police, whom, he observed, "stopped this terrorist before he could do his evil deed."
"The terrorist is obviously a very confused and evil man who has aligned himself with the most evil and Godless men on this earth," the citizen said. "I thank God for the Iraqi police."
Iraqi and coalition cordon-and-search missions also are meeting with great success, officials said.
For example, since July 14, such operations have been undertaken by elements of the 1st and 4th Iraqi Army Brigades and the U.S. Army's 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. According to officials, these missions have resulted in the detention of six targets and the confiscation of various weapons, documents and contraband.
On the evening of July 14, combined Iraqi and coalition forces, from the 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, and the 4th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, apprehended nine individuals for questioning while seizing weapons, including two pistols and four AK-47 rifles. Officials said the joint Iraqi-coalition patrol was acting on intelligence gained from reconnaissance activities in the Ameriyah district of Baghdad.
Also in Baghdad on July 14, the 3rd Battalion, 4th Iraqi Army Brigade, and the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, conducted a search that brought in 11 detainees, a pistol and a cell phone. Officials believe the detainees have intelligence on terrorist activities.
"The Iraqi force is growing stronger by the day, and each cordon-and-search mission is proof of that," said 1st Lt. Taysha Deaton, spokeswoman for the 256th Brigade Combat Team. "Iraq's own soldiers are taking control. More and more and more of our patrols witness that not only is this what must be done, it is also what the Iraqi people want."
Iraqi and coalition security forces seem to be enjoying similar success in northern Iraq. For example, Iraqi police and coalition forces with Task Force Freedom detained 13 suspected terrorists and seized a large weapons cache in operations in and around Mosul on July 15 and 16, officials said.
Iraqi police also reportedly detained four suspected kidnappers of an Iraqi child during a raid west of Mosul on July 15. U.S. officials said the police rescued the child and seized a large weapons cache. The cache had more than 50 missiles, mortar rounds and firing systems; numerous explosives; and various other weapons and ammunition. The weapons and ammunition were confiscated and will be destroyed.
Elsewhere in Mosul, soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, reportedly detained two suspected terrorists while conducting two separate operations on July 15 and 16. Also on July 15 and 16, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, detained two suspected terrorists while conducting two raid operations in western Mosul, officials said. The suspected terrorists are in custody, and no coalition troops were injured.
In other related operations, soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, detained five suspected terrorists at a checkpoint near the Syrian border on July 15, officials said.
"The coordinated efforts of Iraqi and coalition security forces are leading to the arrest of terrorists and criminals responsible for attacks against innocent Iraqi citizens," a release from Task Force Freedom stated. (Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Task Force Baghdad and Task Force Freedom news releases.)