Iraqi Forces Find Weapons in Sadr's Office Near Shrine
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2004 Iraqi police and the Iraqi Intervention Force found hundreds of illegal weapons hidden in secret rooms in the Najaf office of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Sept. 9, according to a statement released by Multinational Force Iraq today on behalf of Iraq's interior ministry.
As part of their mission to clear the city of armed members of Sadr's militia and to remove weapons and ammunition caches, the Iraqi security forces searched Sadr's office, close to the Imam Ali shrine, the statement said. During the search, which took place with the Najaf governor's approval, the statement continued, Iraqi troops noticed fresh plaster on a wall in Sadr's office.
After breaking through the false wall, the soldiers found a secret hallway and rooms filled with mortars, rockets, machine guns and other weapons hidden from authorities when the militia vacated the city, the statement said.
Included in the secret cache were more than 10 mortar tubes, more than 145 mortar rounds, a dozen rockets, numerous anti-tank weapons including rocket- propelled grenade launchers, a heavy machine gun, an anti-aircraft gun, automatic rifles, mines, various other explosives and communications equipment, the statement said.
Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team detained one person wanted for anti-Iraqi activities and discovered a variety of weapons and munitions Sept. 10 in northern Iraq, a Multinational Force Iraq news release reported today. Soldiers detained the suspect after finding suspected improvised explosive device switches hidden in the back of his car at a checkpoint in the neighborhood of Rissala. The suspect was turned over to Iraqi police.
During a separate patrol, soldiers found a large weapons cache in Tal Afar which consisted of five 120 mm mortar rounds, seven 57 mm mortar rounds, one 100 mm mortar round, one 82 mm mortar round, one 122 mm rocket and five assorted fuses. A U.S. explosive ordnance team destroyed the munitions with no injuries, the news release reported.
Another news release today report4ed that soldiers and medical personnel loaded three Iraqi ambulances Sept. 10 with $8,500 worth of medical supplies to be taken to the people of Tal Afar. Many of the residents of Tal Afar are leaving the city because of the increased activity by terrorists in recent days, the release said, and the International Red Crescent is working to provide shelter and medical care for the displaced citizens.
In an effort to help these people, soldiers from the 416th Civil Affairs Battalion Public Health Team and the Stryker Brigade Combat Team's surgeon bought and donated medical supplies such as blood transfusion sets, intravenous fluids, needles, gauze and bandages to treat the civilian casualties that have resulted from terrorist activities in the area, the release reported. Multinational forces also gave an extra $5,000 to the Iraqi health ministry to purchase anesthesia, medication and other medical supplies for the residents of Tal Afar, the release added.
"This project underscores the commitment of multinational forces to assist the Iraqi people and to combat terrorism," the news release said. "The soldiers will continue to work with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people to provide aid for the victims of terrorist attacks."