U.S. Troops Nab Al Qaeda Killer, ‘Mouthpiece’ in Iraq Raids
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2007 American troops killed one terrorist and detained 16 others, including an alleged al Qaeda-affiliated killer and a media representative, during a series of morning raids conducted throughout Iraq today.
Coalition forces in Mosul captured an al Qaeda-related suspect known as “The Butcher,” who is allegedly responsible for numerous kidnappings, beheadings and suicide operations in the Ramadi and Mosul areas. Coalition forces also detained five other suspects and killed one terrorist during the raid.
Coalition troops operating in Fallujah captured two suspected terrorists with alleged ties to foreign fighter operations.
Elsewhere, coalition forces captured a suspected al Qaeda “media emir” and seven other suspects during a raid northeast of Karmah, officials said. Officials believe the detainees are part of an al Qaeda courier network.
“Coalition forces will continue to target al Qaeda in Iraq and foreign terrorist facilitators regardless of where they may hide,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesperson.
In other Iraq news, U.S. ground troops teamed up with AH-64 Apache helicopters to destroy a platoon-sized element of enemy fighters during a March 7 engagement fought west of Baghdad International Airport.
During the lead-up to the battle, a patrol from Troop A, 1st Battalion, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, reported enemy tracer fire in an area known as Az-Zaidon. As they moved toward the firing, they found armed insurgents arrayed in an ambush position along both sides of a canal road. A truck was parked nearby.
After clearing the area of friendly forces, the patrol called in close-air support. The Apaches engaged the enemy fighters, killing 12 and destroying the truck, which had an anti-aircraft heavy machine gun mounted in its bed.
During another operation on the same day, U.S. soldiers foiled an attempt by insurgents to plant an improvised explosive device near a Taji market. Several insurgents were spotted and fired on by Camp Taji tower guards. The insurgents fled before they had time to fully emplace the bomb.
Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, quickly arrived at the site and secured the area. They found two 130 millimeter rounds, which were later disposed of by explosives experts. An investigation is under way to find the people who tried to plant the bomb, U.S. officials said.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)