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Iraqi Forces Capture Terrorist Leader; Coalition Forces Foil Kidnapping

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2006 – Iraqi forces captured a high-ranking terrorist network commander during an early morning ground assault raid in Karbala, Iraq, today and coalition forces in eastern Baghdad stopped an alleged kidnapping June 13, military officials reported.

Iraqi army soldiers, assisted by coalition advisers, captured Sheik Aqeel in the Karbala raid. Aqeel commands a Karbala terrorist network and is wanted for assassinating Iraqi citizens and planning and ordering attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces, officials said. The terrorist network commander provides financial support to subordinate leaders and supplies them with improvised explosive devices.

The IEDs supplied by Aqeel are linked to the deaths of at least six coalition soldiers in 2005 and the deaths of a coalition soldier and an interpreter on June 8, officials said.

Aqeel is also linked to a 2005 attack on the Mukhayim Iraqi police station and the killing of Iraqi intelligence officers in Karbala. Iraqi forces captured one other terrorist during the raid and seized a substantial weapons cache.

Coalition forces in eastern Baghdad conducting combined curfew enforcement stopped two vehicles June 13 and seven Iraqi citizens jumped out, claiming to have been kidnapped.

Soldiers from Multinational Division Baghdad's Company E, 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, were conducting curfew enforcement at about 11 p.m. when they spotted two vehicles carrying the suspected kidnappers and their victims.

During a search of the suspected kidnappers, soldiers discovered three pistols.

Following the search and questioning, the soldiers detained four suspected kidnappers and took the seven victims to a nearby forward operating base. The kidnapping victims had been seized June 10 near Namiyah where they work for an engineering firm. They were released after providing sworn statements.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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