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Scores of Suspected Terrorists Detained in Iraq Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2006 – Coalition and Iraqi forces have detained scores of suspected terrorists, freed hostages and seized a major weapons cache in operations over the last few days, military officials reported.

Soldiers from 4th “Eagle” Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and U.S. advisors from 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd “Commando” Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, detained 45 suspects during a combat operation yesterday in Lutufiyah, Iraq.

The brigade-size operation, Operation Silver Eagle, targeted people implicated in various crimes, terrorist activities and murders, officials said. The Iraqi army is holding the suspects are for questioning.

In another operation yesterday, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, currently attached to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, detained a suspected terrorist in southern Baghdad. The suspect, wanted for questioning in connection with attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces and Iraqi civilians, was detained immediately after a resident reported the suspect's whereabouts to soldiers on patrol in the Abu Tschir neighborhood, about 12 miles south of downtown Baghdad. The suspect was taken into custody and is being held for questioning.

Units from Multinational Division Baghdad found a large weapons cache Nov. 21 in a location known as a haven for insurgent activity.

“We have found caches in this area before,” said Staff Sgt. Rodney London, a squad leader in 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. “It just goes to show that the enemy will come back to the same location after we have unearthed previous caches.”

On this day, the patrol unearthed three 155 mm artillery rounds, three 130 mm artillery rounds, five 120 mm mortar rounds, five 120 mm artillery rounds, nine 82 mm mortar rounds, four 100-round machine-gun ammunition belts, four rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 10 RPG boosters, eight anti-aircraft rocket launchers, two machine guns, 5,000 7.62 mm rounds of ammunition, four homemade bomb detonators, four 80 mm mortar tubes, three 73 mm rockets, eight anti-aircraft guns and other materials used for fabricating bombs.

Soldiers from Company A, known as the “Gators,” have shown the ability to find large caches, officials said. With the size of the weapons found in this particular cache, the Gators are proud of their discovery.

“This cache really showed us what we are fighting for,” said Spc. Matthew Neel, an infantryman with the company. “All of these weapons could have caused terror, now they have been destroyed. We did a really good job.”

On Nov. 20, special Iraqi police forces, with coalition advisors, captured 28 people during a raid against an insurgent cell near Mahmudiyah. The cell is suspected of conducting roadside bomb and mortar attacks against Iraqi security forces, as well as well as kidnapping, extortion and murder of Iraqi civilians.

Iraqi forces detained 10 insurgents, 18 others with outstanding Ministry of Interior arrest warrants, and another 15 suspects were detained and later released from Iraqi custody.

The insurgent cell is also believed to be responsible for conducting attacks against Iraqi police and army forces, and promoting sectarian violence in the northern Babil province area, officials said. No Iraqi civilian, Iraqi forces or coalition forces casualties were reported.

Also on Nov. 20, Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5, operating in concert with 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, rescued two hostages and detained 13 suspected insurgents north of Fallujah.

Acting on reliable intelligence, officials said, the coalition and Iraqi forces were conducting cordon-and-search operations as part of Operation Talon when they found the hostages and apprehended the suspects. Coalition forces also uncovered a weapons cache.

In a separate incident, Marines from RCT-5 detained six suspected insurgents near Habbaniyah today.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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