Coalition Targets al Qaeda Networks Aiding Foreign Terrorists
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 11, 2007 Coalition forces conducted two operations today targeting facets of the al Qaeda network that conduct attacks and facilitate the movement of foreign terrorists in northwestern Iraq.
Several armed men engaged coalition forces during a raid in a desolate area six miles from the Syrian border. Coalition forces returned fire, killing six armed men. Coalition forces also discovered two men hiding inside a tent, one of whom detonated a suicide vest he was wearing, killing only himself and the other terrorist.
Coalition forces found several suicide vests, weapons, rockets, grenades and $18,000 in U.S. currency at the site. They also detained one individual. In the second operation, in the far western part of Ninewah province, coalition forces detained five suspected terrorists.
In other operations today:
-- In Bayji, coalition forces captured a suspected al Qaeda leader believed to have taken over the sniper and assassination network in the area after coalition forces captured his predecessor Aug. 4.
-- In the Tigris River Valley, ground forces detained one suspected terrorist near Balad for his alleged ties to a network known to attack coalition forces.
-- Iraqi and coalition forces in Kirkuk targeted the al Qaeda leader of the city's car-bombing network, who also facilitates the movement of foreign terrorists who conduct suicide attacks. The ground forces detained seven suspected terrorists and found a cache of bomb-making materials, which they safely destroyed on site.
-- A group of armed men engaged coalition forces with heavy small-arms fire in southern Baghdad. Coalition forces returned fire and called in close-air support to engage the enemy force. Coalition forces ground and air fire killed six armed men in the engagement.
-- Also in Baghdad, coalition forces captured a suspected al Qaeda operative allegedly associated with senior terrorist leaders. In addition to the wanted individual, the ground forces detained four other suspected terrorists.
-- Coalition forces conducted an operation to detain criminals involved in murder, kidnapping, bombing and mortar attacks and weapons smuggling. The operation targeting a network in eastern Baghdad resulted in nine armed terrorists killed and eight captured.
"We've been putting consistent pressure on al Qaeda in Iraq and impairing its ability to attack innocent Iraqis," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will continue our aggressive operations to bring security to Baghdad and the surrounding areas."
In operations yesterday:
-- Soldiers with 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team recovered a small weapons cache during operations looking for a terrorist suspect in eastern Baghdad. The cache consisted of a double-barreled shotgun, a revolver with seven rounds, two cell phones and an AK-47 rifle with magazines.
-- Iraqi forces detained two suspected al Qaeda cell leaders during a raid in support of Operation Phantom Strike in Sharqat village in northern Iraq. One of the targeted individuals is accused of the kidnapping and beheading of Iraqi soldiers and setting bombs targeting Iraqi and coalition forces. Forces seized five AK-47 assault rifles, a shotgun, a 9 mm pistol, five AK-47 bayonets, body armor and numerous al Qaeda documents during the raid. The forces also detained three other suspected al Qaeda terrorists during this operation.
-- Iraqi army soldiers detained two Sunni extremists during a raid near Tikrit. The extremists are linked to a small-arms and rocket-propelled-grenade attack on coalition forces Aug. 28 that left a civilian critically wounded.
-- Soldiers with 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team captured one suspected insurgent and recovered a weapons cache during Operation Tacoma III in the New Baghdad section of the Iraqi capital. The operation resulted in the recovery of two explosively formed penetrators, eight hand grenades, a rocket, 218 rounds of ammunition, three mortars and three rolls of wire.
In earlier operations:
-- Iraqi army forces with U.S. support entered a mosque in Tarmiyah on Sept. 8 and detained its leader, who was overseeing an illegal religious court. During a search of the mosque, coalition forces discovered a box of letters that appeared to be addressed to the Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda pseudonym, describing what individuals could do for money. Coalition forces determined the illegal judge posed an imminent threat to the population of Tarmiyah, and he was detained for further questioning.
-- Iraqi forces coordinated a series of raids northeast of Fallujah on Sept. 8, detaining 13 individuals at the targeted locations. Three other individuals were pursued and taken into custody after fleeing from the assault force. The detained individuals are suspected of supporting an al Qaeda sniper cell allegedly responsible for a series of attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces in and around the Karmah area. Six AK-47 assault rifles, multiple identification cards, passports and terrorist propaganda were seized during the raid.
-- Soldiers of 4th Iraqi Army Division advised by U.S. Special Forces soldiers detained two suspected al Qaeda assassins during a raid Sept. 8 in Zaab village near Kirkuk. The two extremists are suspected of shooting and killing Gen. Jaber, a former Iraqi army officer, in the Kirkuk area Sept. 7 as he was driving home after a meeting with a group opposed to the al Qaeda insurgency.
-- Concerned citizens discovered a weapons cache and turned over three suspected al Qaeda insurgents to coalition troops Sept. 8. Soldiers found 19 120 mm mortar rounds, two water bottles filled with homemade explosives and other bomb-making materials while investigating the cache site. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the cache in place.
(Combined from Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Corps Iraq and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula news releases.)