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Iraq, Coalition Forces Crack Down on Insurgents, Uncover Caches

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2006 – Coalition and Iraqi forces killed seven terrorists, detained seven suspected terrorists and discovered weapons caches and improvised explosive devices in recent days, Multinational Force Iraq officials reported today.

Meanwhile, officials reported one of the most successful Iraqi police recruiting efforts in Anbar province.

Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army, with support from the 1-12 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, killed seven terrorists and detained three suspects while conducting operations in the Chubianat area of Baqubah Dec. 19. Officials say they believe this terrorist cell is responsible for the kidnappings and violence throughout the Baqubah markets.

While conducting patrols, the Iraqi troops also discovered a cache of rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, mortar fuses and other improvised explosive device material.

Meanwhile, coalition forces detained four people suspected of manufacturing and transporting IEDs in Baghdad yesterday. The four men surrendered without incident and were taken into custody after security forces stopped their vehicle, officials reported. Authorities searched the vehicle and are questioning the suspects.

In eastern Baghdad, soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, discovered a weapons cache in a suspected militia safe house Dec. 19. They hurled a grenade after coming under small-arms fire during the operation, killing an insurgent, officials said.

The weapons cache they discovered included 30,000 rounds of ammunition, 200 mortar rounds, one prefabricated IED, two suicide vests, two suicide belts, 20 107mm rockets, 31 grenades, 10 AK-47 rifles, six machine guns, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 20 propane tanks and four anti-tank mines. They also found 20 walkie-talkies and materials used to forge identification cards, officials reported.

A tip from an Iraqi citizen led soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, to an IED in Mahmudiyah Dec. 19. Officials said a local Iraqi man notified authorities after finding an unfamiliar object on his vehicle’s passenger seat. Iraqi troops disabled the wires and cordoned off the area, working with the Mahmudiyah Iraqi police force.

A U.S. explosive ordnance disposal team from 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, confirmed that the object was an IED. They determined that it was not connected to the vehicle but was likely intended to detonate in place, officials said.

In downtown Ramadi, Iraqi police conducting security sweeps in recent days discovered IEDs buried in door jambs, floor boards and under furniture in several government buildings, officials reported. The police called a coalition force explosive ordnance disposal team to disable the IEDs before they could be used against Iraqi or coalition forces.

Officials said Iraqi police and coalition forces continue to uncover weapons caches and booby-trapped buildings while conducting combined operations in Ramadi.

Also in Ramadi, anti-Iraqi forces fired mortars near the West Ramadi Police Station yesterday, wounding three Iraqi civilian women. Police from the station responded immediately and evacuated the women to Ramadi General Hospital for emergency medical treatment.

Officials said no coalition forces or Iraqi security forces were injured and none of their equipment was damaged in the incident.

Meanwhile, officials reported one of the most successful recruiting efforts in western Iraq to date, with 1,115 Iraqi men recently signing up to join the police forces in Anbar province.

The new recruits, mostly from Ramadi, Fallujah and Hit, will attend a five-week training course at the Jordanian International Police Training College. Following successful completion of the course, the new officers will join the more than 8,000 police currently serving in communities throughout the province.

This month’s recruiting successes move the government of Iraq and Multi-National Forces West one step closer to their goal of putting 11,330 trained law enforcement officers on the job by April, officials said.

“There are no spectacular victories in a counterinsurgency, but this represents a significant development in the fight for the people of Anbar,” said coalition spokesman Marine Lt. Col. Bryan Salas.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Force West news releases.)

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