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IEDs Kill Three Soldiers; 1,000 Prisoners to be Released From Abu Ghraib

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2005 – Three U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq today after two separate attacks with improvised explosive devices, U.S. military officials in Baghdad said. Elsewhere, officials released 1,000 "security detainees" from Abu Ghraib prison as a goodwill gesture for the Muslim holy month, Ramadan.

Two U.S. soldiers died when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle this morning in western Baghdad. The soldiers' unit was not released.

A 42nd Military Police Brigade soldier was killed 50 miles southeast of Baghdad when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle.

No further details on these incidents were available. Officials are withholding the names of the deceased soldiers until their next of kin are notified.

Multinational Force Iraq officials have agreed to expedite the release of 1,000 security detainees from Abu Ghraib prison.

"In the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan, the Iraqi government requested a special release board" to facilitate the releases, according to a news release.

The releases are scheduled to take place over the next week, with the first 500 detainees going free today, officials said.

"These detainees were selected for release following a careful and thorough review of their files by a special Iraqi-led review board, which determined they had not committed serious crimes against Iraqi forces, the citizens of Iraq or coalition forces," the release stated. "Deputy Prime Minister Abed Motlaq Al-Jabouri will be present for the release to emphasize the importance of being a good Iraqi citizen and treating each other with respect and kindness, especially during Ramadan."

The special review board looked at hundreds of files and voted to release those not guilty of serious, violent crimes, such as bombing, torture, kidnapping or murder, officials said. These detainees have confessed to their crimes, renounced violence and pledged to be good citizens of Iraq.

"This (detainee) release is an acknowledgment by the Iraqi government and (Multinational Force Iraq) of the importance of the holy month of Ramadan," the news release stated. "The Iraqi government and (multinational forces) decided to release the detainees to allow them to be with families and loved ones to celebrate the holy month and to help in the process of building a new Iraq."

This release is the largest to date, officials said.

In other news, coalition air forces destroyed an al Qaeda foreign fighter safe house in Ushsh at about 1:30 a.m. today.

Multiple intelligence sources and information from concerned citizens directed multinational forces to the safe house. Troops found Abu Nasir, a top al Qaeda member in Iraq and a facilitator of foreign fighters. Nasir was linked to other al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and foreign-fighter facilitators in the Hit, Qaim, Karabilah and Husaybah areas, officials said.

A large number of terrorists and foreign fighters also were present at the safe house. About 20 armed male terrorists and foreign fighters were identified at the location prior to the air strike.

Officials said the air strike was planned and executed so as to mitigate risk to civilians in the local area.

Unconfirmed reports alleged that Nasir recently assumed control of all terrorist operations in the area. These operations include car bomb and improvised explosive device bombings, mortar attacks, ambushes, and other direct attacks against Iraqi security and coalition forces.

Nasir is also known to have links to Syria, from where most foreign fighters are funneled prior to their arrival in Iraq.

Coalition forces, often teaming up with Iraqi army soldiers, conducted 69 cordon-and-search operations and raids against anti-Iraqi forces over the past four days, seizing 126 terror suspects and seven weapons caches in and around the capital city.

Additionally, Task Force Baghdad soldiers and members of the Iraqi security forces conducted 3,000 combat patrols to provide security for local businesses and citizens.

A Task Force Baghdad patrol working in western Baghdad found a large weapons cache on the outskirts of western Baghdad the morning of Sept. 24. The cache consisted of 11 roadside bombs, one mortar tube, 14 mortar rounds, one artillery round, TNT, and plastic explosives.

Combined Iraqi army and U.S. patrols also found an additional 33 rocket, mortar and artillery rounds; 15 rifles with 275 magazines and ammunition; two missiles; 16 grenades; and four pistols in other weapons caches hidden throughout the city.

In the air war over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 32 close-air-support and armed-reconnaissance sorties Sept. 25 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities, and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities.

U.S. Air Force F-16s performed a strike against a building used by anti-Iraqi forces in the vicinity of Qaim, expending two GBU-38 500-pound bombs. Other U.S. Air Force F-16s and F-15s provided close air support to coalition troops in the vicinities of Ramadi, Balad, and Haditha.

Nine U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. U.S Air Force and British Royal Air Force fighter aircraft also performed in a non-traditional ISR role with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)

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Multinational Force Iraq
U.S. Central Command Air Forces

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