Coalition Forces Target Foreign Terrorist Facilitators in Iraq
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2007 Coalition forces detained 12 suspects during operations early today targeting al Qaeda networks in central and northern Iraq.
Surveillance elements led coalition forces to a location in Mosul, where they captured a wanted individual and three suspected terrorists. The wanted individual reportedly is an associate of al Qaeda members involved in foreign terrorist facilitation, to include one who was captured in a coalition operation in Bayji on Oct. 26.
Reports indicate one of the suspect's associates, a senior facilitator residing outside of Iraq, is attempting to communicate with terrorist leaders in the country. During the operation, the wanted individual was identified by his wife and detained without incident.
Also today, coalition forces captured a wanted individual west of Ramadi believed to be involved in a foreign terrorist facilitation network that channels extremists into Iraq. The wanted individual allegedly is a close associate of numerous foreign-based terrorists responsible for facilitating funds and weapons for al Qaeda operations. In addition to the targeted individual, coalition forces detained another five suspects during the operation.
In other operations today, coalition forces conducted an operation in Tikrit targeting an alleged associate of an al Qaeda leader also involved in foreign terrorist facilitation. The targeted individual is believed to have ties to several foreign-based facilitators who may have entered the country recently. The ground force detained two suspected terrorists during the operation.
"The foreign fighters' mission is to derail progress in Iraq, and they have no place here," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Iraqi and coalition forces will continue to disrupt al Qaeda in Iraq operations and their facilitation of foreign terrorists."
In operations earlier this week:
-- Iskandariyah policemen turned over 26 Iranian-made mortar rounds to paratroopers in North Babil on Oct. 30. The police discovered the munitions and other weapons during a raid on a cemetery in the city and gave them to soldiers from 25th Infantry Division. Policemen and soldiers conducted a search of the cemetery Oct. 29. During that search, an explosively formed projectile, flares, copper wire and other improvised explosive device-making materials were discovered.
-- An early-morning combined operation led to the detention of three individuals in the Maderiyah area Oct. 30. Iraqi and U.S. soldiers conducted the mission in an attempt to remove insurgents from the area.
-- A large cache of explosives was discovered and destroyed in Arab Jabour on Oct. 30. Soldiers from 3rd Infantry Division discovered the cache while searching a field where a previous cache had been discovered. The cache consisted of 125 hand grenades and 100 rifle grenades.
-- Concerned citizens turned over a weapons cache to coalition forces in Hawr Rajab on Oct. 30. The citizens said they found the ordnance buried in a canal. The cache consisted of two 122 mm mortar rounds, a 122 mm mortar round filled with homemade explosives, an 82 mm mortar round, and a rocket-propelled-grenade round. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the cache in a controlled detonation.
-- Coalition forces discovered a large weapons cache near the Turki village area, south of Balad Ruz, on Oct. 29. The cache included more than 20 rocket-propelled grenades, five RPG launchers, about 10 60 mm mortar rounds, a mortar base plate, two anti-personnel mines, three hand grenades, about 20 blasting caps and other improvised explosive device-making material. The cache was located in an area where a previous cache had been discovered.
"We will continue to target the terrorists' support base, to include their weapons caches, and command and control elements through persistent offensive operations," said Army Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of coalition forces in Diyala province. "The Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces will continue to target the terrorists' perceived safe havens, denying them the ability to disrupt the lives of Diyala's citizens."
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)