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Crackdown Continues on Insurgents

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2005 – Coalition and Iraqi forces continue their pre- election crackdown on insurgents, with military officials in Baghdad today reporting more suspects taken into custody and more illegal weapons seized.

A cordon-and-search operation in the north Babil region south of Baghdad today uncovered what officials termed as one of the largest discoveries of illegal weapons and munitions in recent months. As part of Operation Triple Play, Task Force Baghdad soldiers searched several houses in the area, detaining 10 suspected insurgents during the operation.

The unit discovered a wide variety of explosives and munitions, including 19 122 mm rounds, 52 60 mm rounds, 40 anti-personnel mines, 160 pounds of powdered explosive, 15 artillery propellant charges, an 82 mm round, 29 bags of artillery propellant, 11 rocket-propelled grenade warheads, 50 artillery fuses, 170 half-kilogram blocks of TNT, 24 gas canisters, 16 recoilless rifle rounds, four 55-gallon drums with explosives, and two rifle grenades.

"The insurgent is seeing that no place is safe for him to establish his logistics bases," said Lt. Col. James Hutton, 1st Cavalry Division public affairs officer. "We find more ammunition, equipment and weapons daily. The insurgent is on the run." The 10 suspects are being held for questioning.

Task Force Danger soldiers from 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, detained 11 people during a series of raids today near Hawija. The soldiers confiscated an AK-47 assault rifle with five magazines, 60,000 Iraqi dinar, a police uniform and video recordings of criminal acts.

In another incident today, multinational forces from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), and Iraqi security forces confiscated weapons and ammunition, and detained nine people during operations in northern Iraq.

Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade, 21st Infantry Regiment, detained six people today for violating curfew in eastern Mosul. Weapons and ammunition was found in their car. Iraqi army soldiers from the 12th Battalion detained three suspected insurgents east of Mosul today following an exchange of small-arms fire. Two insurgents were wounded during the exchange. Iraqi Intervention Force soldiers detained an individual suspected of anti-Iraqi activities after conducting a cordon and search of the Omar Abed Alkhtab Mosque.

Another 12 suspected insurgents were detained today in northern Iraq by soldiers of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team). A raid today in western Mosul led to the capture of 10 other people suspected of insurgent activities, and soldiers of the 1st Brigade, 24th Infantry Regiment, confiscated weapons and ammunition and detained two suspected insurgents today while conducting a cordon-and-search operation in western Mosul.

Soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, confiscated bomb equipment and detained four people Jan. 17 in northern Iraq. Four more suspected insurgents were detained Jan. 17 by soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. The soldiers also confiscated a number of bombs and bomb fuses.

Task Force Danger soldiers detained two people at a traffic checkpoint near Kirkuk on Jan. 17 after finding a gunner's quadrant sight mine hidden in the engine compartment of their vehicle behind a cushion.

In eastern Baghdad, an ambulance and four other vehicles were stopped Jan. 17 as they tried to bypass a checkpoint manned by members of Task Force Baghdad. Soldiers manning the checkpoint became suspicious when the approaching ambulance turned on its lights at the last second and attempted to bypass the checkpoint, along with its four-vehicle escort. After soldiers found three assault rifles, the 10 Iraqis riding in the vehicles were detained for questioning.

Six insurgents in two vehicles attacked Iraqi police from Khanaqin on Jan. 17. The police officers headed to a nearby Iraqi army checkpoint. When the vehicle reached the checkpoint, Iraqi soldiers quickly surrounded the vehicles and detained the six insurgents. A search of their homes yielded weapons and documents, including four AK-47 assault rifles, five pistols, a sniper rifle, ammunition magazines, a cell phone, several documents believed to be used for making false identification cards, two vehicles and a bayonet.

Over the last three days, Marines and soldiers from the 1st Marine Division of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force detained 81 suspected insurgents and seized several weapons caches throughout Anbar province, according to officials at Camp Blue Diamond.

The caches included a suicide vest with PE-4 explosives, 30 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, three RPG launchers, two RPG sights, 14 RPG boosters, eight AK- 47s, 43 AK-47 magazines, 30 shotgun shells, a sniper rifle scope, three machine guns, two spare machine gun barrels. 2,300 7.62 mm rounds of ammunition, seven crates of 7.62 mm ball rounds, two cases of 14.5 mm rounds, 25 blasting caps, 32 mortar fuses, nine mortar primers, 13 bags of propellant, an SA-7 rocket, various sizes and types of ammunition, grenades and launchers and various explosives and land mines.

An Iraqi army soldier spotted a munitions round buried in the ground during a joint patrol in Kadasia that resulted in finding enough rounds to produce more than 35 improvised explosive devices, U.S. officials reported from the Tikrit area.

More than 100 explosive rounds were taken out of the hands of insurgents Jan. 17 when Task Force Baghdad soldiers uncovered a weapons cache in western Baghdad. The cache included 15 120mm rounds and 100 20 mm anti-aircraft rounds.

The Fallujah area was made a little safer today when a joint patrol of soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 8th Battalion of the Iraqi Intervention Force and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force found a 55-gallon drum filled with flaked TNT, a 152 mm artillery round, two 120 mm mortar rounds and one sniper rifle.

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