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Forces Capture Terrorism Suspects, Seize Weapons Caches in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2008 – Coalition forces captured suspected terrorists and seized weapons caches throughout Iraq over the past two days.

In Baghdad today, troops captured an alleged associate of an al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader responsible for terrorist propaganda. The suspect is also believed to be involved in propaganda activities and connected to various other associates of the terrorist network in Baghdad. Troops detained seven suspected other suspected terrorists at the same time location.

In northern Iraq today, Coalition forces detained five suspects during two separate operations. In Mosul, Coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists while targeting an alleged associate of several leaders involved in the city’s terrorist network. Another three suspects were detained west of Bi’aj, while targeting an alleged associate of a foreign terrorist facilitation network in the region.

On Saturday in Baghdad, forces captured two alleged accomplices of terrorists who make vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. Reports indicate the suspects are connected to various terrorist leaders throughout the capital city. Intelligence reports led the ground force to the location where one of the wanted individuals was believed to be operating, and he was detained without incident. The first suspect then led the troops to another location, where the other wanted individual was detained.

Also on Saturday in the Tahrir district of Baqouba, Iraq, coalition forces discovered a large weapons cache. Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team discovered rocket-propelled grenade launchers on the roof of a home while on a routine patrol. The rooftop is connected to another home where the Soldiers found a mortar tube, additional RPG rounds and numerous mortar rounds hidden a barrel buried in the courtyard.

The cache included mortar rounds, RPG rounds, RPG launchers, a mortar tube, an AK-47 rifle, and numerous Ak-47 magazines and rounds. The munitions were destroyed in a controlled detonation at a nearby joint combat outpost. The resident of the first house was detained by the Soldiers.

Since the beginning of March, Coalition troops have discovered several significant caches in the Baquba-area. They have also detained several known IED and suicide-vest cell members, including two suspected female suicide bombers.

“Coalition Forces in Baqouba continue to relentlessly pursue insurgent activity, continue to find caches and disrupt AQI cells, and will continue to detain all individuals associated with illegal movement of weapons.” said Maj. John Burpo, an operations officer. “Local nationals and our recent detainees continue to provide intelligence on insurgent networks in greater numbers, and recent successes are indicative of AQIs weakening position in Baqouba.”

Attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces and civilians in Baqouba, the former stronghold of al Qaeda in Iraq, have decreased by more than 80 percent since June 2007.

“Iraqi and Coalition force efforts to dismantle al-Qaeda in Iraq reach into every corner of the country,” said Maj. Winfield Danielson, an MNF-I spokesman. “Al-Qaeda’s extremist ideology and indiscriminate violence are turning away even its most sympathetic former supporters. A tough fight remains ahead, and we will continue attack the terrorist networks, increasing public safety and security for all Iraqis.”

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

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Multinational Force Iraq
Multinational Corps Iraq

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