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IED Kills Soldier; Suicide Bomber Lone Casualty in Failed Attack

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2005 – A Task Force Liberty soldier was killed and two others were wounded today by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, military officials in Iraq reported.

The wounded soldiers were taken to a coalition forces medical facility for treatment, officials said, and their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Also today, a car bomb exploded short of its target west of Kirkuk, Iraq, killing only its driver. The bomb detonated next to a taxi, short of a traffic control point, officials said.

Three passengers in the taxi were wounded and taken by Iraqi police to a local hospital. Task Force Liberty explosive ordnance disposal personnel destroyed three artillery rounds that had failed to detonate in the initial explosion.

Task Force Liberty soldiers today detained a suspected terrorist near Hawijah after their combat patrol received small-arms fire. One soldier was slightly injured in the attack, and was treated at a coalition forces medical treatment facility.

Officials also announced today that soldiers of the 150th Engineer Battalion, 155th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), had detained 25 suspected terrorists and uncovered five weapons caches during an operation in Ojeer al Sharqi.

Items seized and subsequently destroyed included 573 mortar rounds, 37 rockets, three 155 mm artillery rounds, 14 rocket-propelled grenades, 24 land mines, 80 hand grenades, 1,000 feet of time fuse, 105 projectile fuses, 22 cans of small-arms ammunition, two 81 mm mortar systems, two 70-pound bags of bulk explosive, a can of hand grenade fuses, an RPG launcher, a 40-pound shape charge, a Milan antitank missile, an SA-7B guided missile and a 14.5 mm anti-aircraft gun.

The 155th BCT is a U.S. Army unit assigned to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Task Force Liberty soldiers discovered weapons caches in two separate operations June 25.

A combat patrol discovered a large weapons cache west of Kirkuk. While searching a house and surrounding buildings, the patrol found nine RPG launchers, 55 RPG rounds, five AK-47 assault rifles, a machine gun and several thousand AK-47 and sniper rifle rounds. The patrol confiscated the cache.

A tip from an Iraqi civilian led soldiers to a weapons cache northeast of Tuz Khurmatu in Diyala province. The cache, found in a home behind a false wall, consisted of three anti-tank mines, 29 anti-personnel mines, 15 82 mm mortars, three 60 mm mortars, two RPGs and 25 cases of 14.5 mm ammunition. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the cache.

Coalition forces captured three terror suspects, found two weapons caches and disabled six roadside bombs before terrorists could use them during operations conducted all over Baghdad June 24.

Task Force Baghdad soldiers caught one of the suspected terrorists with 730,000 Iraqi dinar and $2,700 in U.S. currency in his house. The soldiers had seen the man flickering his lights every time a coalition patrol passed the house the night before.

At around 2:45 p.m., coalition Forces discovered a large weapons cache in the Ameriya district of western Baghdad. The cache contained five mortar rounds, a suicide vest, a rice bag full of explosives, and a homemade mine. The soldiers also found 30 grenade fuses, 10 blasting caps, a grenade and assorted bomb-making materials.

Later, U.S. soldiers patrolling in northern Baghdad found an RPG launcher. When the soldiers questioned the man who owned the land where the launcher was found, the suspect said he didn't own any weapons and knew nothing about the launcher. The unit searched his house and found three RPGs, a stick of plastic explosives, two bags of explosives and a spool of wire. The suspect was taken into custody for questioning.

In southern Baghdad, another Task Force Baghdad unit conducted a precision cordon-and-search operation and detained a specifically targeted terror suspect. "A lot of innocent civilians were saved today by getting these terrorists, their weapons and their money," said Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, a Task Force Baghdad spokesman. "Task Force Baghdad is committed to helping the Iraqis in Baghdad build a secure and peaceful future."

Task Force Baghdad soldiers also found and disabled five roadside bombs located near five major highways in Baghdad before anyone was injured.

Iraqi soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 5th Brigade, 6th Division (Defenders of Baghdad Brigade), teamed up with Iraqi police; soldiers from 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment; the Georgian army; Air Force security forces; and Marines to conduct Operation Safeguard June 24.

More than 400 Iraqi and coalition forces conducted a cordon-and-knock sweep of more than 1,200 apartments in central Baghdad. The operation was the capstone exercise of an eight-week training program for the Iraqi army brigade, which will hold its activation ceremony June 29.

"From observing the soldiers in action, you never would have guessed just three months ago these superb Iraqi soldiers were civilians," said Lt. Col. Robert M. Roth, commander of the armor battalion. During the search, soldiers detained one resident and confiscated 12 AK-47 assault rifles, six pistols, a grenade and two star clusters. Some of the homes were suspected of being used to harbor contraband.

"The Iraqi soldiers displayed their increasing ability to secure Iraq," Roth added.

Task Force Baghdad soldiers detained two men who may have been involved in sabotaging the water access chamber to the Karkh Water Treatment plant in Baghdad.

The soldiers went to the Nassir factory in northwest Baghdad shortly after midnight June 23 and questioned three guards who were guarding the water access chamber the night it was sabotaged by terrorists.

One of the guards, who wasn't working the day of the attack, was released. The other two guards' stories were very different from one another, and they were both taken into custody for further questioning.

The water access chamber was damaged at 4:40 a.m. on June 19. Since then, the Baghdad Water Supply Authority has been working around the clock to repair the damage and restore water service to the city, officials said, adding that Iraqi soldiers are now guarding the site as the workers replace the damaged pipes.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Task Force Baghdad news releases.)

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