Coalition, Iraqi Forces Taking Fight to Enemy
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 4, 2007 Working independently or as a team, coalition and Iraqi forces are increasing the pressure on al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups in the country.
Coalition forces detained nine suspected terrorists and killed 10 terrorists today during operations in the Anbar province and in Mosul targeting al Qaeda in Iraq terror cell leaders and their operatives.
In Anbar, coalition forces raided a series of buildings looking for a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq leader who is known to be responsible for the torture of Iraqis civilians.
As ground forces approached the first targeted location they encountered three men – two men were armed and the third attempted to draw his weapon. Forces killed the three men.
During the engagement, three men from the targeted location across the street came outside of the building and began firing. Coalition forces returned fire and killed them.
The patrol began receiving heavy machine gun fire from another location. Coalition forces called in close air support to suppress the enemy fire. During the strafing, three terrorists on the rooftop and one on the ground were killed.
During the same operation, six suspected terrorists were detained for their association with a suspected al Qaeda leader known for torturing Iraqi citizens.
In Mosul, coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq terror cell financier and two other suspected terrorists during an early morning raid. Intelligence reports indicate that the alleged al Qaeda cell financier was planning to have his terror cell attack the Mosul airfield.
Coalition forces killed 25 terrorists, detained five suspected terrorists and uncovered weapons caches during an operation northeast of Baqubah in Diyala province that ended July 2.
The mission is part of Operation Phantom Thunder the overall ongoing mission in Iraq.
During a patrol along the Diyala River, coalition forces were engaged by three men with rifles and military-style assault vests from across the river. The patrol returned fire and the enemy fire subsided, but enemy reinforced its numbers and escalated to include rocket-propelled grenades.
Coalition forces determined the enemy fire was coming from an organized terrorist force that had moved into a nearby palm grove. They fired and maneuvered on the enemy and called in close air support.
During the engagement coalition forces killed an estimated 25 terrorists and the enemy fire stopped. The patrol also observed secondary explosions coming from within the palm grove.
Throughout the firefight, a nearby mosque was broadcasting chants for local residents to “rise up against” the coalition forces; the chants were later replaced by a voice that seemed to be giving orders, coalition officials said.
Two suspected terrorists were injured in the engagement and were transported to a military medical facility for treatment.
Searches of the area during the operation uncovered weapons caches containing fire extinguishers rigged as improvised explosive devices, mortar rounds, RPG rounds and small arms. Coalition Forces detained five suspected terrorists.
In Baghdad today, U.S. attack helicopter crews engaged a group of terrorists attempting to fire a rocket toward the International Zone.
Apaches were conducting aerial reconnaissance when they spotted terrorists emplacing a rocket in the eastern Sadr City. The crews identified 10-15 terrorists who dispersed as the Apache crews closed in on their position.
The Apache crews engaged a van and two sedans in which the terrorists fled the site. The crews also fired on the rocket system. The engagement resulted in three enemy vehicles and a rocket system destroyed.
In Mosul, Iraqi security forces detained an alleged insurgent religious leader, yesterday.
Iraqi forces raided several residences in a Mosul neighborhood and captured their primary target without incident. Three other suspicious individuals present during the raid were also detained.
But the enemy hasn’t given up on attacking Iraqi civilians. Five Iraqis were killed and 20 more wounded when a car bomb detonated in the Sha’ab neighborhood on the east side of the Iraqi capital July 2.
The explosion ignited a large fire on the street, fire trucks and ambulances responded. Iraqi National Police officers responded, secured the area and set up a cordon to protect residents from further attacks. They also rendered aid to the wounded and questioned witnesses.
Coalition officials suspect al Qaeda in Iraq as the likely culprits for the attack, which targeted a mixed neighborhood of Shia and Sunni residents.
In Baghdad, coalition forces detained 12 insurgents. Forces operating in Adhamiyah District seized the suspects without incident. The troops detained the suspects after receiving information on a meeting site of this alleged terrorist cell. Several of detained are suspected to have direct involvement in the deaths of five American soldiers in June.
Near Fallujah, Iraqi soldiers discovered and destroyed an al Qaeda improvised explosive device factory, July 2.
The factory was located on a remote compound in the vicinity of Karmah. It contained homemade explosives, nitric acid containers and numerous other hidden explosives,
Officials said they believe the destruction of the terrorist IED factory will greatly inhibit al Qaeda in Iraq attacks in the Fallujah and Karmah areas leading into Baghdad.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq press releases.)