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Raids Net 99 Suspects as Coalition Roots Out Insurgents

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2003 – Coalition forces in Iraq captured 99 anti-coalition suspects in 25 raids, and the 4th Infantry Division conducted 36 attacks against anti-coalition targets, a U.S. military official told reporters in Baghdad Nov. 17.

Army Brig. Gen. Mark T. Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for Combined Joint Task Force 7, said the raids and overnight attacks took place Nov. 16-17. He met with reporters at the headquarters of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Kimmitt detailed several operations and their results:

  • The 101st Airborne Division conducted 229 patrols in a series of "cordon-and-search" operations. Kimmitt said the soldiers detained 18 people, confiscated weapons and munitions and developed intelligence for future operations.

  • The 4th Infantry Division's 36 attacks part of Operation Ivy Cyclone II destroyed 15 safe houses and three suspected former regime loyalist training camps. The soldiers also suppressed 14 mortar firing points, Kimmitt said.

  • Coalition soldiers killed six former regime loyalists and captured 21 others in other raids, Kimmitt said. One Army Tactical Missile System missile destroyed a suspected training camp on the Little Zab River in a daytime attack. Another missile was used at night against a target identified as a sanctuary for anti-coalition activities, Kimmitt said, and no damage assessment was yet available. He added the missiles were used because their precision minimized the possibility of injuring civilians or causing collateral damage.

  • One coalition soldier was killed and two others were wounded when their Ivy Cyclone II mounted patrol was attacked near Albu Shukur. The wounded soldiers were taken to the 21st Combat Support Hospital.

  • Coalition forces conducted 609 patrols in and around Baghdad during the 24-hour period as part of the 1st Armored Division's Operation Iron Hammer, capturing 33 enemy personnel. Combat actions included two cordon-and-search operations in Baghdad, detaining six people with suspected ties to the Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary organization and other anti-coalition elements. Another cordon-and-search operation in Baghdad's Azamiyah section netted 25 enemy personnel, including a former Republican Guard general, and what Kimmitt called "significant quantities" of weapons and ammunition. A joint cordon-and-search operation was conducted in the Abu Ghuraib area with the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, he added.

  • In the west, the 82nd Airborne Division conducted six offensive operations, 171 patrols and nine joint patrols with Iraqi security forces. They detained 26 people and cleared 11 ammunition stockpiles. Kimmitt said enemy contacts in the zone had decreased for the third straight day.

  • Paratroopers from the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment conducted offensive operations and captured two people wanted for planning and supporting attacks against the coalition. The operation netted 11 other people wanted for questioning, and soldiers confiscated various explosives and bomb-making materials.

  • Operations in Habbaniyah and Ramadi by the 1st Infantry Division resulted in the capture of five people with explosives. Soldiers also seized anti-coalition documents.

  • In the central zone, coalition forces conducted 128 mounted and dismounted patrols, 11 joint patrols, and operated 104 checkpoints. Acting on information from a local source, a 3rd Battle Group patrol on the edge of Karbala found a cache of artillery rounds. Also in Karbala, a local citizen turned in 15 grenade launchers.

Kimmitt also told reporters that efforts continue to kill or capture Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former vice president of Saddam's revolutionary council and No. 6 on the coalition's most-wanted list. He is represented as the king of clubs in the 55-card deck depicting the most-wanted former regime leaders. "We have reason to believe he is a key figure in attacks against coalition figures and Iraqi citizens," Kimmitt said, adding that the coalition is "getting closer every day" to finding him.

The most-wanted fugitive is the former dictator himself, Saddam Hussein, and Kimmitt said the effort to find him is "daily business" that will not stop until he's found. "And we will bring him to justice," the general added.

Kimmitt said the coalition doesn't classify the attacks against the coalition and Iraqi citizens as a guerrilla insurgency. "We see it as criminal activity within the country people laying booby traps (and) people using car bombs to go after coalition forces," he said.

The attackers don't want to fight the coalition in a military sense, he continued, but rather want to break the coalition's will and drive it out of Iraq. "We're responding with military weapons," he said. "And every time we have an engagement with the enemy, we always prevail, and we'll continue to do that until the situation is stable."

The general dismissed a suggestion that the coalition isn't getting anywhere in defeating anti-coalition forces. "Every one of these people that we have in detention (is) no longer building bombs, driving car bombs, (or) putting bombs by the side of the road that kill, maim and injure innocent Iraqis and other military forces here," he said.

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