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Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers Hunt for Terrorist Cells

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2005 – U.S. and Iraqi soldiers conducted a cordon-and-search mission in the early-morning hours of July 6 to search for terrorist cells in western Baghdad.

Iraqi soldiers from 2nd and 3rd platoons, D Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, and a U.S. scout platoon from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 156th Armor Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, participated in the operation.

The result was the capture of seven detainees, five AK-47 assault rifles, two pistols, up to 20 fully loaded magazines, and assorted weaponry and documents, including material for making identification badges for U.S. contractor Kellogg Brown & Root, and possible imagery maps of the area.

Not long after the first detainee was positively identified, he provided intelligence of a nearby meeting site. Upon searching the specified location, forces arrested a man and a woman who were making false KBR badges. Army 1st Lt. Jason Warren from Alexandria, Va., a platoon leader for the U.S. Army unit involved, said the mission was a joint operation between the U.S. and Iraqi armies. "We did our best to adapt to the situation, and in the end we found more suspicious activity and stolen military equipment," he said.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Thomas Plunkett from New Orleans, the battalion's commander, said his soldiers cordoned the perimeter while the Iraqi soldiers conducted detailed searches of residences and businesses. Plunkett said the presence of the Iraqi citizens recognized the presence of their soldiers. "The 2-1 soldiers were a very positive aspect of the operation, based on their ability to interact with the locals," Plunkett said.

In other news from Iraq, terrorists fired upon Iraqi soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, patrolling in Abu Ghraib around 7:30 p.m. July 5.

The Iraqi unit fought back and detained 12 of the attackers. The soldiers positively identified one of the men as a known bomb manufacturer. All 12 suspected terrorists were taken into custody for questioning.

Earlier, at 4:30 p.m., an Iraqi army unit working in northern Baghdad caught another terror suspect. The suspect had served in a chemical weapons unit in the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein's regime. When the Iraqi soldiers caught the man, they found compact discs with anti-Iraqi propaganda in his possession.

Later on July 5, an Iraqi citizen told U.S. Task Force Baghdad soldiers he'd seen three men digging holes in the area of a subsequent roadside bomb attack against coalition forces. The man offered to lead the patrol to the attackers' houses and identify the men.

Just before midnight, the soldiers searched two houses in the Risalah district of southern Baghdad and captured three men the Iraqi citizen identified as the men he had seen placing the bombs.

"What we've seen in today's activities is just one small example of how Iraqi security forces, with assistance from Iraqi citizens coming forward with tips, are working to defeat the efforts of terrorists who want to disrupt progress in this country," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, Task Force Baghdad spokesman. "Iraqi soldiers and police are conducting these kind of missions every day."

Another Task Force Baghdad unit working in the Jihad district of southwestern Baghdad found a weapons cache containing 13 mortar rounds and numerous rifle barrels and stocks. An explosives ordnance disposal team was called to the site to safely remove the munitions.

(Compiled from Task Force Baghdad news releases.)

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