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Coalition Captures Iranian-Backed Militia Suspects in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2008 – Coalition forces yesterday captured five suspected Iranian-backed illegal militia members during an operation in Baghdad's Rusafa neighborhood, military officials reported.

Based on intelligence information, coalition forces targeted a suspected senior leader believed to be involved in smuggling Iranian-supplied lethal aid into Iraq. He is believed to be a key facilitator in planning and conducting attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces, officials said.

Coalition forces detained the wanted man and four other suspects without incident, they said.

According to intelligence assessments, the group receives funding, training, weapons and direction from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, officials said. Through its militia proxies, the Quds Force is trying to destabilize the Iraqi government, officials said.

Also yesterday, coalition forces struck a blow to the criminal network known as Asaib Ahl al-Haq by capturing two suspects during an operation in the southern city of Amarah in Iraq’s Maysan province.

Acting on intelligence information, coalition forces targeted a suspected senior weapons smuggler believed to be responsible for militant operations against Iraqi and coalition forces. Forces detained the suspect and an associate.

In other operations, coalition forces today and yesterday captured a wanted man, detained 17 additional suspects and found enemy weapons stockpiles during operations to degrade the al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network throughout the country, officials said.

-- In Kirkuk yesterday, troops netted four suspects believed to be associated with a regional al-Qaida in Iraq leader.

-- Near Beiji, about 100 miles south of Mosul, coalition forces captured a wanted man believed to be a local military leader for a terrorist group associated with al-Qaida in Iraq. Two additional suspects were detained during the operation.

-- In Ash Shurah, about 25 miles south of Mosul, coalition forces detained three suspects believed to be connected to a wanted man who intelligence reports suggest is a direct conspirator with regional al-Qaida in Iraq leaders.

-- In Sulaymen Bak, about 50 miles southeast of Kirkuk, forces targeted a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq military operator believed to be involved in roadside bomb attacks.

-- Coalition forces in Fallujah, about 34 miles west of Baghdad, detained two suspects while targeting an al-Qaida in Iraq operator.

-- Iraqi and coalition forces found nine mortar rounds and 35 pounds of TNT yesterday in Baghdad’s Kadhamiyah district of Baghdad.

-- A tip from a concerned citizen yesterday led coalition soldiers in Baghdad’s Mansour district to a weapons stockpile that included two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, an RPG round, 11 anti-personnel rockets, five 60 mm mortar rounds, three 82 mm mortar rounds, nine grenades, a remote control device and about a half pound of C4 explosive, 150 machine-gun rounds, and a variety of small-arms rounds.

-- A local sheik’s tip led coalition soldiers to the seizure of a 155 mm round and two 100 mm rounds west of Baghdad yesterday.

In another recent operation, Iraqi and coalition soldiers acting on a citizen’s tip captured two suspected criminals and seized a weapons cache Sept. 30 east of Lutifiyah, about 25 miles from Baghdad. The cache included a fragmentation grenade, an 82 mm mortar round, a 122 mm artillery round, a directional blast charge, an AK-47 assault rifle and 36 AK-47 rounds, and two spools of detonation cord.

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

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Multinational Force Iraq
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