Forces Kill Three, Detain Others in Raids on al Qaeda in Iraq
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2007 Coalition forces around Iraq over the past two days killed three terrorists and detained 28 suspects while putting pressure on terrorists facilitating the movement of al Qaeda senior leaders.
South of Bayji, local Iraqis alerted ground forces to several suspected terrorists tied to the individual targeted in a coalition operation. The ground forces captured the targeted individual and detained five more suspects believed to work for a local al Qaeda leader. Coalition forces also found a cache of weapons and military-style assault vests with the suspects.
"We're on the offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq and the foreign terrorists that help them," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will continue to hunt down terrorist leaders and those who take part in the planning and execution of their vicious attacks against innocent Iraqis."
In a pre-dawn raid north of Baghdad, coalition forces captured a weapons distributor and “special groups” leader responsible for the storage and distribution of Iranian weapons. The suspected weapons facilitator has traveled to and from Iran numerous times and is responsible for smuggling and distributing explosively formed penetrators to groups operating throughout the Baghdad area, U.S. officials said. He is also believed to have had ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force.
"Coalition troops continue to kill and capture terrorists who bring Iranian weapons, especially EFPs, into Iraq," said Garver. "We will continue to pursue these networks that provide these weapons to those who intend to kill coalition forces, Iraqi security forces and innocent Iraqis."
In other operations today:
-- Coalition forces captured an alleged member of a Baghdad car-bombing network and one of his associates during a precision raid today in the capital city. The targeted individual also is believed to be tied to a suspected terrorist detained during an operation Aug. 16 in Baghdad, U.S. officials said.
-- An engagement in Hawija between coalition forces and terrorists led to three enemy fighters being killed and one detained.
-- During a raid in Kirkuk, Iraqi and coalition forces detained one suspected terrorist for his alleged ties to a weapons transporter for Kirkuk-based al Qaeda cells.
-- Coalition forces in Mosul continued to target foreign terrorist facilitators associated with al Qaeda senior leaders during two operations. Based on information from an operation Aug. 13, ground forces conducted a raid in the city and detained one suspected terrorist. A nearby raid netted four suspected terrorists.
In other operations this week:
-- Coalition forces in Baghdad conducted two operations yesterday targeting associates of a Syrian-based terrorist facilitator responsible for bringing hundreds of terrorists into Iraq. Local Iraqis reported terrorists were occupying several nearby buildings where coalition forces found rockets, pressure plates and bomb-making materials. The ground forces detained 13 suspected terrorists for their association with the terrorist facilitation network and a local al Qaeda media producer.
-- Iraqi and U.S. Special Forces soldiers detained six members of the splinter Jaysh al-Mahdi militia cell in southwestern Baghdad during a raid yesterday. As the forces proceeded to the target location, enemy forces engaged them with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. Iraqi forces killed eight insurgents.
-- A scout platoon from the 6th Iraqi Army detained 11 members of a Jaysh al-Mahdi militia cell in northwestern Baghdad yesterday. This terrorist cell is notorious for attacks against coalition forces using improvised explosive devices, military officials reported. Forces confiscated six AK-47 rifles with five loaded magazines, one pistol with three loaded magazines, four computers, two radios, multiple cell phones and documents.
-- Iraqi security forces and 8th Iraqi Army scouts with U.S. Special Forces as advisors detained 31 suspected terrorists in Sayafiyah during an alleged meeting of an al Qaeda cell Aug. 17. Local citizens prompted the operation by reporting that Sayafiyah was a safe haven for many Sunni insurgents. The individuals targeted during this raid have been connected to multiple improvised-explosive-device attacks, weapons smuggling, kidnapping, and murders, and are believed to be responsible for displacing hundreds of Shiites, officials said. Additionally, the suspected terrorists in this cell are alleged to be behind attacks on Iraqi army, Iraqi police and coalition forces.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)