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Vehicle Fire, Roadside Bomb Claim Soldiers' Lives

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2005 – Five more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, military officials in Baghdad reported.

A Task Force Liberty soldier was killed and four others were wounded when their vehicle caught fire near Tikrit, and three Task Force Liberty soldiers were killed and another was wounded when their combat patrol struck a roadside bomb near Balad. Both incidents occurred Oct. 19.

The wounded soldiers were taken to coalition forces medical facilities for treatment, but no report on their condition was available.

A soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), died from what officials described as "a non-hostile gunshot wound" on Oct. 18 at a forward operating base near Mosul.

The soldiers' names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

In other news from Iraq, Task Force Baghdad soldiers found and destroyed terrorists' bombs and weapons caches during combat operations Oct. 19 in and around various Baghdad districts.

The soldiers found at least eight improvised explosive devices before terrorists could detonate them. One patrol also discovered a cache of about 600 sticks of commercial explosives in a pickup truck in southern Baghdad. An explosive ordnance disposal team collected the explosives for later destruction.

In one of the biggest discoveries of the day, a Task Force Baghdad unit operating in southern Baghdad found a 250-pound aerial bomb with detonation cord. The unit requested EOD assistance and, a short time later, reported finding another IED consisting of a 125 mm and a 120 mm round. EOD performed a controlled detonation on both IEDs.

An informant's tip led a U.S. patrol northwest of Baghdad to another IED on Oct. 19. The soldiers found a 155 mm and a 60 mm round along the side of a road. EOD was called in to destroy that IED as well.

A senior Abu Musab al-Zarqawi lieutenant and al Qaeda military leader in Iraq was killed during a series of coalition raids in western Iraq on Oct. 15, military officials announced today.

Coalition forces conducted the raids on suspected terrorists operating near the town of Ramadi, officials said. At least 12 terrorists were killed during the raids. Recently captured detainees identified one of the dead terrorists as Saad Ali Firas Muntar al-Dulaymi, also known as Abu Abdullah.

Intelligence sources indicate that Dulaymi was highly regarded by many senior al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, including Zarqawi himself. He is believed to have facilitated high-level meetings in Ramadi and Fallujah, where senior-level terrorists gathered to discuss strategy and ongoing operations. Zarqawi was said to have attended some of these meetings.

Dulaymi quickly ascended the ranks and supposedly worked with Zarqawi's lieutenant Abu Qutaiba in a vehicle smuggling network originating in Jazirah, near Fallujah, prior to Qutaiba's capture by coalition forces. He then ran his own smuggling organization funding bomb making operations in the Fallujah and Ramadi areas, officials said, adding he was chiefly responsible for planning and executing all terrorist attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces in the Ramadi and Fallujah areas.

In other news from Iraq, Iraqi and coalition forces conducted 42 raids and searches in and around Baghdad that netted 19 terror suspects and two weapons caches Oct. 16 through Oct. 18.

In the three days following Iraq's historic constitutional referendum vote, Iraqi and U.S. forces combined to conduct more than 1,600 patrols and man more than 700 traffic control points. Iraqi security forces performed more than 1,000 of the nearly 2,400 missions by themselves and teamed up with U.S. soldiers on more than 100 others, officials said.

One of the largest combat operations was carried out by Iraqi soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, Oct. 18. Just after midnight, Iraqi soldiers captured five terror suspects during a raid against a terrorist safe house in the Adhamiyah district of central Baghdad.

Many of the operations were based on tips from Iraqi citizens tired of terrorist violence in their neighborhoods, officials said.

One tip helped Task Force Baghdad soldiers from the 70th Engineer Brigade seize three suspected bombers during a cordon-and-search operation in northern Baghdad on Oct. 18. The three men are thought to be involved in placing roadside bombs targeting Iraqi security forces, coalition forces and civilians in the area.

Later in the morning, a second citizen's tip helped coalition forces capture a suspected weapons dealer and terrorist organization financier during a search of two houses in northern Baghdad.

Two days earlier, Task Force Baghdad soldiers acted on another citizen's tip to seize a large weapons cache in western Baghdad. When the soldiers of the 48th Brigade Combat Team searched the area, they found a weapons cache consisting of 103 high-explosive rounds, 151 mortar rounds, six mortar tubes, 31 mortar fuses, five mortar base plates, two mortar tripods and a mortar-sighting device.

The cache also contained two anti-tank weapons, an anti-aircraft machine gun, 10 sticks of dynamite, 25 grenades, a machine gun, four rifles, sniper scopes, a silencer, 8,000 rounds of ammunition, and bomb-making materials. Three suspects at the site were detained for questioning.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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