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Coalition Troops Detain Terrorism Suspects, Free Hostages

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2007 – Coalition forces detained 15 suspected terrorists and freed 12 Iraqi hostages in Iraq today, military officials reported.

Two alleged terrorist cell leaders were among suspects detained in various raids targeting the al Qaeda network:

-- In Mosul, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists, including an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq leader believed to be responsible for identifying Iraqi army and police targets and directing attacks against them.

-- Using information from a successful raid conducted yesterday, coalition forces targeted associates of a suspected terrorist commander in Baghdad. Two individuals were detained for their alleged involvement in the terrorist group, which conducts assassinations and car-bomb attacks.

-- Coalition forces conducted two coordinated operations in Iraq’s Anbar province, where they detained 10 suspected terrorists for their alleged involvement in the al Qaeda in Iraq network in the area.

In other news from Iraq, coalition forces freed 12 Iraqis who were held captive and beaten by terrorists during a raid this morning on a site northeast of Karmah. The site was targeted for its ties to another terrorist detention facility.

After five Iraqi hostages were freed yesterday, intelligence reports indicated two buildings were being used for kidnappings and murders, officials said. As coalition forces approached the first building, armed men engaged them with small-arms fire. Ground forces returned fire and called in air support. Five terrorists were killed by the ground forces, and four were killed in an air strike.

Coalition forces then secured the building and discovered 12 Iraqis held captive in a locked room; three of them appeared to have been beaten. The ground force evacuated the captives and treated their injuries. The hostages will be turned over to their respective tribal leaders for repatriation, officials said.

The first building also contained a cache of weapons, including two rocket-propelled grenades, a submachine gun, rifles, and 19 military-style assault vests. The weapons were safely destroyed on site.

In the second building, coalition forces found stolen goods and detained three suspected terrorists there for their alleged ties to the kidnapping network.

"Terrorists continually show their disrespect for human life and for the citizens of Iraq," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Our operations continue to systematically dismantle their organizations."

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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