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Coalition, Iraqi Forces Kill 1, Detain 16 Suspected Terrorists

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2008 – Coalition and Iraqi forces killed one suspected terrorist, detained 16 others and seized weapons caches in Iraq over the past three days, military officials said.

Coalition forces captured a suspected criminal finance facilitator for Iranian-trained "special groups" and detained two other suspects yesterday during operations to disrupt criminal networks in the Baghdad area.

The targeted financier was reportedly in charge of payroll for criminal special groups in Wasit province and oversaw all special groups operations in Suwayrah, Numaniyah, Azisiyah and Kut. He allegedly financed criminals and their attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces. Reports indicated he was an associate of several senior-level criminal leaders involved in attacks on coalition forces, officials said.

“Iraqi and coalition forces will continue to target these rogue elements, disrupt their networks and bring them to justice,” Navy Cmdr. Scott Rye, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said.

Coalition forces killed one terrorist and detained 13 suspected terrorists yesterday and Feb. 1 during operations to disrupt al Qaeda networks in central and northern Iraq, military officials said.

West of Mahmudiyah yesterday, coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq member believed to be associated with procuring weapons from outside Iraq. Another suspected terrorist was detained in addition to the wanted individual, officials reported.

Elsewhere, during an operation in Beiji, coalition forces captured an alleged terrorist media cell member involved in the city’s al Qaeda in Iraq network. Reports indicated the suspect was involved in producing propaganda materials to include items featuring the former al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

An additional seven suspects were detained during an operation north of Tarmiyah in which coalition forces targeted the al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader in the city, officials said.

Yesterday’s operations follow Feb. 1 raids in which coalition forces were led to a location outside Samarra where forces targeted al Qaeda in Iraq associates believed to be connected to several known terrorist meeting locations in the area. Officials said ground forces detained one suspected terrorist and destroyed a vehicle in the target area that allegedly was being used for terrorist activity.

Information gained from the operation led coalition forces to another location outside Samarra where al Qaeda in Iraq associates were believed to be operating. Ground forces called in air support to engage an underground bunker believed to be occupied by terrorists.

When the aircraft engaged, ground forces observed considerable secondary explosions from the location, indicating numerous explosive materials and weapons were stored inside, officials said. One terrorist was killed, and two suspected terrorists were detained.

North of Baghdad, Iraqi soldiers from 11th Iraqi Army Division seized a large weapons cache that included a 60 mm mortar tube, 28 60 mm mortars, 103 81 mm mortars, 29 120 mm mortars, seven rounds of C4 explosives, an improved explosive device, 100 mortar fuses, and 30 12.7 mm rounds.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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