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Troops Detain 2 Extremists Tied to Soldiers’ Abduction

American Forces Press Service

BALAD, Iraq, Dec. 27, 2007 – Iraqi police and U.S. special operations forces seized two suspected extremists believed to be complicit in the kidnapping of three U.S. soldiers in early May, U.S. military officials said today.

The suspects were detained during Dec. 24-25 operations in Ramadi, officials said. The raids were prompted by intelligence reports linking the two individuals to the May 12 abduction of three U.S. 10th Mountain Division soldiers after an insurgent ambush near Mahmudiyah in which four U.S. soldiers were killed.

Reports indicate the two detainees are linked to al Qaeda in Iraq. One of the suspected terrorists is believed to have facilitated the kidnapping and is reported to have used his home to aid in the hiding and transporting of the captured soldiers.

The Ramadi raids were part of a series of operations conducted to detain individuals believed complicit in the abduction of the soldiers, officials said.

Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack Jr., 20, a native of Torrance, Calif., Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, 25, of Lawrence, Mass., and Pvt. Byron W. Fouty, 19, of Waterford, Mich., were reported missing after the May 12 ambush. Iraqi police found Anzack’s body in the Euphrates River south of Baghdad on May 23. Jimenez and Fouty are still missing.

During a previous operation, a weapon belonging to one of the missing U.S. soldiers was recovered at a residence of one of the suspects, officials said.

Both suspects allegedly are involved in terrorist cells responsible for several roadside-bomb and mortar attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces, as well as the kidnapping and murder of Iraqi citizens and members of the Iraqi security forces.

Four other individuals seized during the operations are being detained for questioning.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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