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Mortar Attack Kills Soldier, Offensive Operations Continue

By Sgt. 1st Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2004 – A U.S. soldier was killed and another was wounded today in a mortar attack at a checkpoint outside Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.

The wounded soldier was evacuated to a military medical facility for treatment, a U.S. Central Command news release said. The soldiers' names are being withheld until their families are notified. No other details of the attack were available.

Military operations over the past week by coalition and Iraqi security forces have netted several suspects believed to be responsible for attacks and violence against the coalition and Iraqi citizens, a coalition military official said today at a Baghdad news conference.

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for Combined Joint Task Force 7, said a suspected Answar al-Islam terrorist group facilitator and member of a local cell of the Fadayeen Saddam paramilitary group was captured by coalition forces. The suspect reportedly is the nephew of Izzat Ibrahim al- Douri, who was Saddam Hussein's vice president and has a $10 million bounty on his head as the most wanted former regime member still at large.

Kimmitt said an early morning raid today led to the capture of former Iraqi army Brig. Gen. Abu Ahmed al Tikriti, former director of military intelligence for northern Iraq and the suspected leader of a cell believed to be involved in attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi civilians.

Another man suspected of involvement in planning a suicide car bomb attack on the Samarra government building Jan. 24 was captured Feb. 4, Kimmitt said.

Offensive operations continue by the coalition to kill or capture enemies of the Iraqi people and coalition elements and to gather intelligence information, the general said. In the 24 hours leading up to today's 9 a.m. EST news conference, he reported, coalition forces conducted 13,016 patrols, 27 offensive operations and 10 raids, and captured 106 anti-coalition suspects.

Kimmitt said the coalition's area of operations remains relatively stable with an average of 24 engagements daily against coalition forces, four attacks per day against Iraqi security forces and fewer than two attacks daily against Iraqi citizens over the past week.

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Related Sites:
Combined Joint Task Force 7
U.S. Central Command
Status of 55 Most-Wanted Iraqi Fugitives

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