Terrorists Use Children as Shields; Child Dies in Firefight
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 21, 2005 One child was killed and another was injured when terrorists used them as human shields during coalition forces raids of three terrorist safe houses Sept. 20 in Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, officials in Baghdad reported today.
Based on tips from concerned citizens and multiple intelligence sources, coalition forces raided two suspected safe houses to capture known terrorists operating in Mosul. The terrorists were believed to have senior al Qaeda connections in the city and northern Iraq, officials said.
When coalition forces entered the first terrorist safe house, three terrorists attacked with small-arms fire. Coalition forces returned fire, killing two terrorists and wounding another.
During the firefight, one of the terrorists used a small child to shield himself as he fired on coalition forces. The child was slightly wounded during the exchange of gunfire. The child and wounded terrorist were evacuated and are being treated at a local field hospital. Both are expected to recover from their wounds, officials noted.
Coalition forces then moved to a second suspected terrorist safe house, where they were again met with small-arms fire. They killed one terrorist, and several other terrorists fled the safe house into a third house nearby, where coalition forces killed four more terrorists, officials reported.
The coalition forces did not see one of the terrorists pick up a small child as he was fleeing the second safe house. During the firefight, the hostage-holding terrorist was shot. The same bullet that killed him also killed the child as it exited the terrorist's body, officials said.
Weapons, ammunition, grenades and rocket-propelled-grenade rounds were found in the second terrorist safe house, as well as in a vehicle that was parked outside. Coalition forces consolidated everything in the vehicle and destroyed it and its contents before leaving the site, officials noted. In other news from Iraq, Task Force Liberty soldiers discovered several weapons caches while conducting operations in rural fields and ruins on the outskirts of Kirkuk today.
The unit found 18 mortar and artillery rounds, a rocket-propelled grenade, rocket-propelled-grenade propellant, a hand grenade and fuses. Explosives ordnance personnel destroyed the sites. Iraqi forces from the 1st Battalion, 1st Public Order Brigade, and coalition troops discovered a cache of bomb-making material and detained a man during a presence patrol Sept. 19 in central Fallujah.
The cache included nine hand grenades, six mortar increments, one hand-held radio, an anti-tank round, a 6-inch block of TNT, two large fireworks and various fuses, blasting caps, electrical components and timers. The suspect is being held pending further investigation.
In the air war over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 46 close-air-support and armed-reconnaissance sorties in support of ground troops Sept. 20. These missions included infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities, and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities. Coalition aircraft also supported Iraqi and coalition ground forces operations to create a secure environment for ongoing Transitional National Assembly meetings, officials said.
U.S. Air Force F-16s and U.S. Navy F/A-18s provided close air support to coalition troops near Mansiyah, Suwayrah and Ash Shargat.
Twelve Air Force and Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Air Force fighter aircraft also performed in a nontraditional ISR role with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)