Two U.S. Soldiers Killed; Baghdad Rocket Factory Discovered
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2005 Two Task Force Baghdad soldiers were killed when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Baghdad today, military officials reported.
The names of the soldiers are being withheld pending notification of their families.
In other news from Iraq, soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, discovered a rocket factory and captured three suspected terrorists in two separate operations.
A local citizen identified an eastern Baghdad home being used to make improvised rocket launchers. Soldiers raided the home Dec. 22 and discovered 15 rocket launchers were in the process of being built. One 57 mm rocket was completed and ready to fire. No one was in the home when it was raided.
"It is encouraging that the Iraqi citizens are continuing to choose the side of the new government over the terrorists," said Army Col. Joseph DiSalvo, commander of coalition forces in eastern Baghdad. "The Iraqi citizens know that providing information against the terrorists to coalition or Iraqi security forces will help to improve the security situation in their neighborhoods."
All equipment in the home was seized and Iraqi security forces continue searching for the homeowners, officials said.
On Dec. 21, a patrol from the same unit captured three terrorists as they were emplacing a fake roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad.
At about 6 p.m., the patrol observed a civilian vehicle dropping cement blocks in the median of a major thoroughfare. The patrol intercepted the suspicious vehicle and detained three suspected terrorists.
Additional elements of 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, secured the site surrounding the suspicious items and an explosive ordnance disposal team investigated the objects and found them to be hoax roadside bombs.
"These suspected terrorists were not placing cement blocks in the road for any other reason then to terrorize and intimidate the population," said Maj. Paul Reese, operations officer for 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. Anyone found guilty of emplacing a hoax roadside bomb is a terrorist - make no mistake about it. The good people of Iraq are disgusted by these types of games."
Hoax roadside bombs are commonly used by terrorists to check how Iraqi security and coalition forces will react, officials explained. Coalition military officials today announced the capture of media emir and an administrator, both members of the radical Islamist group Ansar al-Sunna, during raids on suspected terrorist safe houses near Mosul.
Muhammad al-Sufi, also known as Abu Naba, an Ansar al-Sunna media emir in Mosul was captured Nov. 23, and Adnan al-Badrani, known as Abu Hudayfah, an Ansar al-Sunna administrator, was captured Dec. 5, officials said.
Abu Naba produced propaganda fliers and compact discs focusing on military operations, anti-voting messages, Jihad messages and prayers, officials said. He also facilitated videos of attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces to be posted to the Internet. He purchased cameras used to film violent acts including bombings, kidnappings and executions.
He also helped produce the final video products and delivered the videos to other Ansar al-Sunna leaders for posting on the Internet, officials said.
Based on information Abu Naba and other detained terrorists provided to coalition forces, Abu Hudayfah was identified and captured. He allegedly was in charge of logistics and support for Ansar al-Sunna in Mosul. In the skies over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 34 close-air-support missions Dec. 22 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Air Force F-15s provided close-air support to coalition troops in contact with insurgents near Samarra. The F-15s used a precision-guided munition to destroy an insurgent bunker.
Near Balad, U.S. Air Force F-16s provided close-air support to coalition troops in contact with insurgents. The F-16s struck two enemy positions with precision-guided munitions. Other U.S. Air Force F-16s also provided close-air support to coalition troops in contact with insurgents near Bayji, Kirkuk and Tikrit. Eleven 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, U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward and Task Force Baghdad news releases.)