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U.S., Iraqi Troops Detain 66 Suspects, Seize Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2006 – In the past week, U.S. and Iraqi forces detained more than five dozen suspected insurgents in Iraq, U.S. military officials reported.

Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, captured 20 detainees and a small cache yesterday near Khalis, Iraq. The detainees and cache contents were turned over to authorities for further investigation. The original intent of the operation was to target 10 individuals believed to be associated with a local kidnapping and assassination cell.

Elsewhere, soldiers from two battalions of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, in conjunction with Iraqi security forces, detained 46 suspected insurgents during numerous cordon-and-search missions within the last week in Kirkuk and Hawijah, military officials said.

With engagements occurring almost daily, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, have killed two terrorists, wounded one, and detained a total of 25 suspects during the seven-day period. "The combination of aerial and ground patrols is paying huge dividends," Army Capt. Tim Meadors, an operations officer from 1st Battalion, said.

In one incident, aviators spotted four men emplacing an improvised explosive device next to a truck parked alongside a road. Two of the men jumped back in the truck and headed to a nearby village, while the other two took off on foot toward another nearby village. The pilots radioed their sighting to commanders on the ground and then followed the men until ground forces arrived at both locations. That incident resulted in the capture of 11 of the 25 individuals detained by that unit, officials said.

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, have conducted numerous combined cordon-and-search operations with Iraqi police in Kirkuk, resulting in the detention of 21 suspected insurgents. These searches have resulted in the confiscation of IED materials, weapons and false documentation, officials said. They also have provided soldiers with additional information on many different insurgency cells.

"Most detainees are leading to more suspects," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Lawson Adkins, the noncommissioned officer in charge of 2nd Battalion's intelligence section. "Eventually we would like to degrade the cells to become nonexistent. Hopefully we will see a drop in activity and reduce the current threat," Adkins said.

(Compiled from Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq and Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq

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