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98 Terror Suspects Captured; Operation River Gate Continues

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2005 – Iraqi and coalition forces netted 98 terror suspects and several weapons caches in separate operations Oct. 9, 10 and today in Baghdad, military officials reported.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
A Task Force Baghdad soldier keeps digging in search of more weapons in a cache discovered in western Baghdad on Oct. 10. Soldiers from B Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, uncovered their seventh weapons cache in October during cordon-and-search operations. Army photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

More than 600 Iraqi and U.S. forces responded to reports of terrorists operating in southern Baghdad and conducted multiple cordon-and-search operations in the early morning hours today.

U.S. soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, linked up with Iraqi special police commandos to take the terrorists by surprise. AH-64 Apache helicopters soon arrived to engage in the firefight.

The forces acted on a report that two men were on a roof overseeing a group of terrorists emplacing improvised explosive devices. Troops detained 57 terror suspects and killed two others.

On Oct. 10, Iraqi soldiers conducted two pre-dawn cordon-and-search operations against known terror organizations in central and western Baghdad, capturing four men believed to be active members in the cells. Two of the suspects taken into custody were known for their activities in terror cells.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, carried out the first search operation by themselves in central Baghdad and detained two suspects thought to be involved with the Sunnah terrorist group.

The second search was conducted by Iraqi soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, with Task Force Baghdad soldiers providing backup.

Fifteen minutes after the U.S. forces established the outer cordon around the targeted safe houses, the Iraqi soldiers entered the first building and seized the suspect they were after. Another suspected terrorist was also detained during the operation.

In other early morning combat operations, coalition forces seized three more terror suspects in two separate cordon-and-search operations in western Baghdad.

Two of the detainees, captured in the Ghazaliyah district, are thought to be vehicle suppliers for a car-bombing cell. A third suspect captured in western Baghdad is believed to have planned and participated in roadside bomb attacks against civilians, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces.

All seven of the suspects were taken into custody for further questioning.

On Oct. 9, Iraqi and coalition forces aggressively pursued terrorists in the Iraqi capital, capturing 34 terror suspects and seizing bomb-making materials and weapons caches during more than 50 raids and searches.

Iraqi army and police units completed seven of the combat operations independently and took the lead on two others, working side by side with coalition forces.

One of the largest combat operations was conducted by members of 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. The soldiers entered a southern Baghdad neighborhood in mid-morning and quickly cordoned off the area around their targets. Within an hour, the team searched 15 buildings, detained 15 suspected terrorists and took them into custody for questioning.

Later in the day, Task Force Baghdad soldiers captured four terror suspects at a safe house in western Baghdad. A search of the house revealed seven AK-47 assault rifles, 8,000 rounds of ammunition and two bomb-detonating devices.

Iraqi security forces and Task Force Baghdad soldiers also carried out more than 470 patrols and manned more than 350 traffic control points all over the city to provide security for Iraqi citizens.

Iraqi soldiers and police conducted nearly 370 of the missions themselves and teamed with coalition forces on 50 others.

On one of the patrols, coalition forces, working in the Ghartan district of south Baghdad, detained two more suspected terrorists. The suspects had an AK-47 rifle with 100 rounds of ammunition, a rocket-propelled grenade sighting device and electrical switches used to detonate bombs.

In other Iraq news, Iraqi security forces and Marines, soldiers and sailors from Regimental Combat Team 2 continued Operation River Gate in the cities of Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana.

On Oct. 9, Iraqi and U.S. soldiers at a vehicle checkpoint northeast of Haditha stopped three men in a white four-door sedan. The soldiers found a video camera. Minutes later, a similar sedan approached the checkpoint and began driving erratically. Soldiers used hand and arm gestures to signal the vehicle to stop. The car continued to accelerate toward the checkpoint, even after warning shots were fired. When the soldiers began firing at the vehicle, the vehicle detonated within yards of the soldiers, killing the driver.

When the soldiers inspected the video camera and viewed several minutes of the footage on the tape, they recognized one of the three men from the first sedan. The video recorded the male speaking to the driver of the suicide car bomb that just detonated. When questioned about the connection, the men stated that they found the camera on the side of the road. The three men were detained for further questioning.

On Oct. 10, two additional weapons caches were found in Haditha. The cache sites contained bomb-making material, small arms, RPGs and ammunition.

About 130 suspected terrorists being detained as a result of River Gate. U.S. forces have released more than 70 detainees after questioning. The operation's goal is to deny al Qaeda in Iraq the ability to operate in the Western Euphrates River Valley cities and to free the local citizens from the insurgents' campaign of murder and intimidation targeting innocent women, children and men, officials said.

Elsewhere, soldiers from B Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, discovered a very large weapons cache Oct. 10 in the Abu Ghraib district.

The unit had been conducting cordon-and-search operations in the neighborhood and was just about to leave, but -- acting on a hunch -- they remained at the site for another two hours, digging for buried munitions, officials said.

This is the seventh cache discovered in October by this unit.

The day began with the soldiers searching a residence suspected of harboring terrorist activity. Using metal detectors, the unit began to get positive detections and, after staying in the area, unearthed a large cache.

The cache included 13 mortar rounds, five RPG rounds, four rifle grenades, two RPG launchers, a mortar tube, a 55-gallon drum with explosives, six bundles of fuses, 67 RPG propellants, and 110 explosive timers.

"This is an example of how a soldier's intuition and experiences have resulted in uncovering another cache," said Army Capt. Ryan Keys, B Troop commander. "I am proud of the hard work and dedication that every soldier has been putting into this mission here," he said. "The terrorists are learning that it is just a matter of time before we find their next cache."

In the air war over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 42 close-air-support and armed-reconnaissance sorties Oct. 10 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, 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.

U.S. Air Force F-15s performed air strikes in support of coalition troops in contact with terrorists. The F-15s expended three GBU-38s against a group of buildings used by insurgents as firing positions near Karabilah with successful effects.

In addition, U.S. Air Force F-16s and a Predator and U.S. Navy F/A-18s and an EA-6 provided close air support to coalition troops near Baghdad, Balad, Fallujah, Habbaniyah, Karamah and Salman Pak.

Twelve U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Also, U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft performed in a nontraditional ISR role with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Task Force Baghdad and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)

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Multinational Force Iraq
U.S. Central Command Air Forces

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