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Soldier Killed by Car Bomber; Terrorists Detained

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2005 – A Task Force Baghdad soldier was killed today when a suicide car bomb detonated outside a checkpoint near the International Zone in Baghdad, military officials reported.

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Army Spc. Milton Gonzales, 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, smashes a gate open during a raid in Baghdad that netted several wanted insurgents Oct. 8. Army photo

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

An Iraqi army soldier, an interpreter and an Iraqi civilian wounded in the terrorist attack were evacuated to a military hospital for treatment.

The name of the deceased U.S. soldier is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Also today, the Iraqi Army in eastern Baghdad detained two suspected terrorists during early-morning raids. The action stems from combat operations on Oct. 8, when Iraqi soldiers captured a group of terrorists.

"During the interrogation, the terrorists provided the Iraqi army with the names and expected locations of their cell leaders," said Maj. Terry Cook, a U.S. Army officer who works with the Iraqi army. "Today, the Iraqi army took action on that information and seized two higher-level terrorists." Both are suspected of directing attacks against civilians, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces.

Interrogation results indicate the terrorists were planning attacks against the Shiite population to disrupt Iraq's Oct. 15 constitutional referendum, officials said.

"The Iraqi soldiers hit the target locations very fast and very professionally," Cook said. "No shots were fired, and the suspects did not put up a fight." The terror suspects are being processed by the Iraqi judicial system, officials said.

Elsewhere, Task Force Liberty soldiers and Iraqi security forces detained two wanted terrorists during a series of raids in Kirkuk at 3:30 a.m. today.

One detainee is suspected of taking part in assassinations and distributing anti-coalition propaganda. The other is a known weapons trafficker. A small cache was found at his house during the operation.

The raids were conducted as part of Operation Saratoga, Task Force Liberty's effort to disrupt terror cells across north-central Iraq and set the conditions for a safe and secure constitutional referendum vote Oct. 15, officials said.

In other developments, coalition forces, acting on multiple intelligence sources, raided a safe house suspected of harboring foreign terrorists today.

During the raid, coalition forces found four 120 mm rockets of a type often used to make improvised explosive devices and detained four suspected terrorists. Coalition forces removed and destroyed the four rockets in a nearby open field.

In other Iraq news, Iraqi police officers from the Tarmiya district conducted a joint patrol with coalition forces and detained a man and seven rifles Oct. 9 in Taji.

Police and coalition forces encountered the young man, who was holding an AK-47. The suspect was detained and the area was searched. Five additional AK-47s and a Russian-made sniper rifle were found and seized. The suspect is being detained pending further investigation by authorities.

In Baghdad, Iraqi army soldiers coordinated and executed a large-scale operation to capture suspected terrorists Oct. 8. Three Iraqi army battalions struck numerous targets simultaneously and detained 12 suspects.

The suspected terrorists are thought to be responsible for at least 15 separate deadly attacks on schools, Iraqi police stations, government officials and Iraqi army and coalition forces convoys, officials said. They are suspected of using small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, roadside bombs and grenades to kill and maim civilians and Iraqi and coalition forces.

In another part of Baghdad, coalition forces detained five wanted terrorists during an early-morning raid. The suspects are members of a terrorist group responsible for attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi civilians. Soldiers raided the suspects' residences and then conducted a cordon-and-knock operation in the surrounding neighborhoods.

"After we didn't find our suspects initially, we moved out into the neighborhood to search other homes," said Army Capt. Sam Allen, a platoon leader with 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "In one house, the noncommissioned officers were on the ball and thought one guy was acting suspiciously. The neighbors, after seeing that we were there to help, told us that he was lying about his name, and it turned out that he was on the brigade's most-wanted list."

Since local residents cooperated with soldiers, force was not necessary in apprehending the suspect, Allen said.

"It had already been a long day when we found the suspect - we had searched about 50 homes - and that speaks volumes of our soldiers' work ethic and dedication," Allen said. "They always put 100 percent into every mission, and it pays off every day."

In other operations, a group of Iraqi citizens living in southwestern Baghdad, weary of violence in their neighborhood, detained a suspected terrorist, then made a phone call to a Task Force Baghdad tips hotline so soldiers could come and get him.

The Iraqis called the U.S. soldiers late in the evening Oct. 8 and a patrol from 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, arrived within minutes.

When the soldiers got to the scene, the residents handed over a terror suspect the unit had been looking for the night before. The suspect was detained for questioning. In other combat operations Oct. 8, Iraqi soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Iraqi Army Brigade, carried out an early-morning cordon-and-search operation in the Abu Ghraib district of western Baghdad.

Within 20 minutes of their arrival at the suspected safe house, the Iraqi forces had secured the area and detained two terror suspects. The suspects are believed to be involved in killing and kidnapping Iraqi police officers, planting improvised explosive devices, and making remote-control-detonated bombs at an electronic shop in the neighborhood.

Elsewhere, coalition forces captured seven terror suspects while conducting six cordon-and-search operations in northern Baghdad. One of the suspects taken into custody is thought to be a member of a car-bombing cell. Another is believed to have placed roadside bombs targeting Iraqi and coalition convoys. A third suspect had an RPG-sighting device and four spools of wire in his possession when he was captured.

In the air war over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 44 close-air-support and armed-reconnaissance sorties Oct. 9 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-16s and F-15s and U.S. Navy F-14s provided close air support to coalition troops near Baghdad, Samarra and Tuz Khurmatu.

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

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, Task Force Baghdad and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases. Army Maj. Russ Goemaere contributed to this report.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq
U.S. Central Command Air Forces

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