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Soldier, Marine Killed; Terror Suspects, Weapons Seized in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2005 – A Task Force Liberty soldier was killed and two others were wounded during an indirect fire attack on a coalition forces base near Balad, Iraq, today, military officials in Baghdad reported.

One wounded soldier was taken to a coalition forces medical treatment facility, and the other was treated and returned to duty, officials said.

A Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed in action near Fallujah, Iraq, July 23 when the vehicle he was in was struck by an improvised explosive device. The incident occurred during combat operations near Rutbah, officials said.

The names of the soldier and the Marine are being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.

Soldiers from the 150th Engineer Battalion, 155th Brigade Combat Team, captured more than 100 suspected terrorists today near Owesat. The soldiers also seized and destroyed a cache of weapons that included 186 mortar rounds, three 122 mm artillery rounds, 65 hand grenades, 500 pounds of explosives, rocket-propelled grenades, launchers, small-arms ammunition, and aiming equipment.

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

In other recent operations, Iraqi security forces and Task Force Baghdad soldiers captured 119 suspected terrorists, including three specifically targeted individuals, and confiscated a variety of weapons in a series of combat operations in and around Baghdad, officials reported.

In the largest operation on July 22, Iraqi security forces from the 1st Battalion, 4th Public Order Brigade, and U.S. soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, apprehended 12 terror suspects in an early-morning cordon-and-search operation in south Baghdad.

Later in the day, soldiers from 5th Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, working at a traffic control point in central Baghdad, stopped a car without a license plate trying to pass through the checkpoint. When the Iraqi soldiers stopped the car, they noticed the two occupants were acting suspiciously. The two suspects were detained for further questioning.

In other operations that day, U.S. and Iraqi forces captured three specifically targeted terrorists.

The first, thought to be involved in the murder of an Iraqi citizen, was captured in central Baghdad by Iraqi soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade. Coalition forces detained a second specifically targeted terrorist while manning a traffic control point in south Baghdad. The suspect, a known member of a terror cell operating in the Yusufiyah district of southern Baghdad, was taken into custody for questioning.

A third specifically-targeted terrorist was captured when soldiers from Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, sealed off a residential area in the Ghazaliyah district of western Baghdad just before 10 p.m. A search of the homes revealed nothing, but soldiers breaking down the operation recognized an approaching man as a specifically targeted terrorist. The soldiers took him into custody for questioning. Earlier that evening in the Thawra district of the city, Task Force Baghdad soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, saw a man brandishing a pistol run into a house. The patrol searched the house and detained the man and another occupant. The soldiers also found four AK-47 assault rifles, two sniper rifles, two pistols, two hand grenades and 400 rounds of ammunition.

Also on July 22, a patrol from 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, discovered a cache of mortars placed by the side of a road. The cache included six 60 mm mortars and seven 57 mm mortars. The weapons were in the same location where Iraqis have turned in ammunition before.

"We are convinced the local residents placed these weapons on the side of the road for us to find and remove from the community," said Maj. Russ Goemaere, 2nd BCT spokesman. Goemaere said that while it would be preferable that civilians not place themselves at risk by handling munitions in that manner, "we are please that the citizens of Iraq are supporting the cause of democracy and helping to protect their community." An explosive ordnance disposal team safely removed the ammunition for destruction.

On July 23, Task Force Baghdad soldiers working in the Furat district of southwestern Baghdad found an improvised explosive device near the side of a dirt road before it could detonate. The bomb appeared to be a 5-foot-square black box with nails pointing upward and green and red wires attached. A team of explosives experts was called in to investigate.

Meanwhile, the soldiers stopped a man driving near the bomb site. After listening to the driver's story, the soldiers were suspicious. The driver told the soldiers that another man living in a nearby house could verify his alibi. The unit accompanied the driver to the house, where a man living in the home gave the unit permission to search the home.

The search revealed four large pipe bombs, black powder, bomb detonating devices, a fully-loaded AK-47 assault rifle, seven protective masks with filters, night vision goggles, an empty rocket tube and three spent artillery shells. The unit also found an explosives detector, three pistol holders, several dozen terrorist manuals, and a large box of nails. The nails were the same kind as those found earlier on the roadside bomb.

Both the driver and the man living in the house were taken into custody for questioning.

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

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Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward)

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