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Iraqis Capture Baghdad Cell Members, Find Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2010 – Iraqi security forces arrested a wanted Baghdad cell member and seven additional suspected terrorists, and discovered a large weapons cache during two joint security operations today in Baghdad and northern Iraq.

In western Baghdad, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched a home for a suspected al-Qaida cell leader responsible for coordinating several car bombing attacks within the capital city.

Preliminary questioning and evidence collected at the scene led forces to identify and arrest the wanted man.

During a separate security operation southeast of Kirkuk, the 3rd Emergency Services Unit and U.S. advisors searched several buildings for four suspected al-Qaida members.

One of the warranted men is suspected of involvement in administrative and financial operations for the terrorist organization, while the three others are suspected of building and storing bombs for use in attacks throughout the region.

The security team found several bags of ball bearings used to construct homemade bombs hidden beneath a stairwell in one of the searched buildings.

Near another building, the security team discovered a large weapons cache. Items found buried in plastic drums include a complete suicide vest, more than five sticks of dynamite, 15 fully-assembled bombs, six rocket-propelled grenades, hundreds of feet of metal wiring, several different types of explosive-triggering devices and various firearms and ammunition.

Based on evidence found at the scene, Iraqi forces arrested two warranted men and five suspected criminal accomplices.

Elsewhere in Iraq, security forces arrested two suspected terrorists today during a joint security operation southeast of Mosul while pursuing an al-Qaida leader known to operate in the area.

While securing a building during the operation, members of the joint security team encountered a man who brandished an assault rifle at team members. In response to the threat, a security team member shot and killed the man.

The security team also identified and arrested two suspected terrorists associated with the Mosul-based terrorist leader during the operation.

In earlier operations, Iraqi forces arrested two suspected terrorists Jan. 31 during a joint security operation in Baghdad targeting a suspected member of the al-Qaida organization.

In northwest Baghdad, Iraqi troops and U.S. advisors searched a home for a suspected terrorist believed to be involved in coordinating car bomb attacks targeting civilians in the Baghdad area.

According to Iraqi and U.S. intelligence sources, the suspect is actively involved in a terrorist-sponsored explosives cell known to be planning future attacks in Baghdad with the intent to disrupt and destabilize security efforts as Iraq's national elections near.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Iraq news releases.)

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