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Marine Killed, Operation Tigers Continues in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2005 – A U.S. Marine engaged in combat operations against enemy forces near Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, was killed in an improvised explosive device attack Nov. 26, officials in Iraq announced today.

The name of the Marine, who was assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), is being withheld until the family is notified.

Meanwhile, Operation Numur, or "Tigers," continues with Iraqi soldiers in the lead and has resulted in the capture of several weapons caches and several terrorist suspects, officials reported.

The terrorist suspects include Imad Salih Al-Fahdawi, a known insurgent linked to the Abu Khattab-al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist cell, officials said. He reportedly has been involved in attacks against government officials and imams.

Terrorists linked to the al Qaeda in Iraq cell are part of Abu Musab Zarqawi's Ramadi network whose members have vowed to prevent local citizens from participating in the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections, officials said.

The discovered weapons caches, they add, had numerous artillery and mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, high explosives, small arms weapons, small arms ammunition, bulletproof vests and bomb- making equipment. Two of the weapons caches were found along a railroad track and were used by local terrorists, officials reported.

Operation Tigers is the fourth in a series of joint U.S.-Iraqi operations designed to disrupt and destroy terrorist networks and infrastructure. The three previous operations -- Panthers (Numur), Bruins (Dibbah), and Lions (Asad) - began Nov. 16. These operations resulted in the killing and detainment of numerous terrorists and the capture of several weapons caches, officials said.

Operation Tigers includes roughly 150 Iraqi soldiers and 400 coalition forces from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, which is assigned to 2nd Marine Division.

The Iraqi army spearheaded the operation by providing security, identifying cache sites and gathering important information through their interaction with the local citizens, officials said.

These actions prove the Iraqi army is "truly making very rapid advances," says Lt. Col. Abdul Majeed, an Iraqi army commander. "With time, we will be able to secure all of Ramadi and remove all of the hidden enemy weapons cache points," he said.

Meanwhile, Iraqi and U.S. forces continued to fight Nov. 26 against terrorists operating throughout north-central Iraq. Sixteen suspected terrorists, including one woman, were captured in a series of unrelated events, officials said.

For example, in an early morning cordon-and-search mission near Baqubah, Iraqi and U.S. soldiers reportedly detained nine suspected terrorists, while seizing detonating fuses and several anti-aircraft artillery rounds.

Moreover, while investigating a late-morning explosion at a gas station southeast of Samarra, local Iraqi police detained four terrorist suspects. Four 155-mm artillery shells that had been converted into improvised explosive devices detonated before they could be removed from the station. The explosion killed nine terrorist suspects and injured four others, officials said.

And, in nearby Balad, U.S. soldiers detained a terrorist suspect at a checkpoint after he attempted to avoid questioning. The suspect was searched and found to be carrying more than $3,000 in U.S. currency, officials said.

U.S. troops also conducted a clearing operation in Baqubah Nov. 26. This resulted in the detainment of two terrorist suspects. Officials say the suspects were found to be carrying eight blocks of C-4 plastic explosive, an AK-47 rifle with several hundred rounds, blasting caps and various other bomb-making materials.

Also on Nov. 26, in Mosul, Iraqi soldiers detained a terrorist suspect who was found to possess notes with the names of anti-Iraq insurgent forces. The soldiers were with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 3rd Iraq Army Division. They were conducting a combat patrol when they identified the man as a likely terrorist. The suspect is being held for further questioning, officials said.

Iraqi police from the Samarra Major Crimes Unit, they add, captured a suspected kidnapper and two-time murderer Nov. 26. The suspected murder and kidnapper was taken into custody pending further investigation, and no injuries or damages were reported. Officials said two criminals believed to have been involved in the kidnapping and murders are still at large.

In Baghdad, Task Force Baghdad soldiers reportedly captured four suspected terrorists during operations Nov 24 and 25.

Officials said the successful effort stemmed from information provided by an Iraqi citizen. The citizen alerted soldiers to a terrorist cell operating in western Rashid. Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, then raided the alleged site during the early-morning hours of Nov. 25 and detained three suspects.

A similarly successful raid took place Nov. 24, officials said, when soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, detained a terrorist suspect in eastern Rashid. The suspect is believed to have been responsible for attacks on coalition forces, and he unsuccessfully attempted to fleet the scene when the soldiers arrived.

(Compiled from various news releases.)

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