Iraqi Citizens Support Ongoing Anti-Terror Ops
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2005 As Iraq progresses militarily and democratically, citizens there are stepping forward to inform indigenous and coalition forces of terrorist operations and covert weapons caches, Multinational Force Iraq officials reported today. Iraqi citizens sometimes even are apprehending suspected terrorists themselves, officials noted.
For example, on Dec. 17, a group of Iraqi citizens near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, captured two suspected terrorists who were observed digging up a weapons cache. The citizens reportedly subdued the suspects and called the Kirkuk Joint Coordination Center, which then relayed the information to a nearby patrol. The combined Iraqi and U.S. patrol responded and secured more than 20 artillery rounds, while detaining the terrorist suspects for questioning, officials said.
Also on Dec. 17, another group of Kirkuk residents flagged down a U.S. Air Force patrol and led the airmen to a small weapons cache. The airmen reportedly found two mortar rounds, two rocket-propelled grenade warheads and several anti-aircraft artillery rounds. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the weapons in a controlled detonation, officials said.
A tip from a local citizen in the Tissa Nissan area of Baghdad Dec. 16 led a group of soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Brigade, to a large, buried mortar cache of seven 60 mm mortar rounds. The soldiers reviewed the site and reportedly discovered another suspicious site, which had 19 60 mm mortar rounds. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the ammunition, officials said.
Iraqi soldiers, too, are stepping forward to take the lead, officials said. Iraqi army troops from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force, reportedly found and cleared two weapons caches near Husaybah Dec. 17.
The first cache, northwest of the city, held six 40 mm rounds, three AK-47s, a single assault rifle and assorted small arms ammunition, officials said. The second cache of 50 82 mm fuses was found in a water tank, northeast of town. The ordnance was collected and slated for subsequent destruction, officials said.
Elsewhere in Iraq, on Dec. 15, soldiers with the Task Force Band of Brothers discovered a large cache of improvised explosive device components near Hawijah. The components reportedly were found by a pair of scout helicopters from the 101st Airborne Division.
The helicopter pilots spotted suspicious activity by several individuals, officials said. They then relayed the suspects' location to a nearby patrol from the division's 1st Brigade Combat Team. The patrol found a weapons cache buried in several 55-gallon drums.
The cache consisted of 414 two-way radios, 48 circuit boards, and more than 100 timing devices -- all of which are used to manufacture IEDs. The cache also included small amounts of AK-47 ammunition, detonation cord, batteries and several bomb-making manuals, officials said.
This was the second time in less than a month that 1st Brigade Combat Team has uncovered a major cache in its area. The team discovered more than 4,200 mortar rounds in a single cache Nov. 27 near Kirkuk, officials said.
Meanwhile, at several locations near Tikrit on Dec. 17, soldiers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade detained 15 suspected terrorists as part of Operation Eagle Watch.
The 101st soldiers reportedly were conducting an area reconnaissance near Forward Operating Base Speicher, when they observed the terrorist suspects at two separate sites. Unit UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters swooped down to investigate. They found several AK-47 rifles, two sniper rifles, an RPK Soviet machine gun, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, officials said.
The contraband was confiscated from the suspects, who then were taken to a nearby detention facility for questioning.
Officials reported one American fatality in Iraq Dec. 16. A Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), died from a non-hostile gunshot wound in Camp Fallujah.
The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is currently under investigation, officials said.
(Compiled from various Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)