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Iraqi, Coalition Troops Detain Suspects, Find Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2007 – Iraqi and coalition forces detained five suspected terrorists and found numerous weapons caches in operations throughout Iraq today and in recent days, military officials reported.

Iraqi army troops from the 5th Special Troops Company, 2nd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, teamed with soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, and Macedonian forces to find three weapons caches today in Fehamah, a village near Taji.

The Iraqi-led operations involved a cordon-and-knock mission and cache searches conducted after coalition forces observed suspicious activity in the area, officials said.

The 37th Field Artillery Regiment soldiers found one of the caches while searching a car parked in the village and the other caches while searching homes in the area. Some of the items found during the operation included mortar tubes, mortar rounds, rockets, rocket launchers and a video camera.

Elsewhere in Iraq, officials reported that soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division(Light Infantry), detained three suspected terrorists during an operation in Albu Farris Jan. 1.

The operation, coined “Terminator Lasso,” was conducted to detain an improvised explosive device cell in Abu Farris. The combined force air assaulted into the target area and searched specified locations for IED-making materials and individuals linked to attacks in the area.

During the operation, Iraqi troops entered a mosque, with permission from the imam, near the targeted location. No contraband was found and the soldiers left the mosque after thanking the imam for his support.

At the target house, the soldiers discovered a false wall containing IED timers, triggers and detonators and two shovels. They detained the owner of the house for further questioning.

On the return route, the troops found two men at a known IED trigger area and detained the two suspected triggermen for questioning. One was found with a 9 mm pistol and the other with a camera flash IED detonator.

In another operation, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), along with the Rasheed Iraqi police, detained two suspected terrorists and found IED-making materials during an operation in Rasheed Jan. 1.

The operation was conducted following a tip identifying a possible IED cell based out of Rasheed.

The troops and Iraqi police found bomb-making materials in a Rasheed residence. The items uncovered included two shovels, electronic circuit boards, various wires and telephone, cell phones and radio parts. The radio and phone parts were consistent with those typically used in fabricating remote-controlled IED detonators. Two gas masks were also found in the house.

The detainees were taken into custody for further questioning.

Separately, Marine engineers attached to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, uncovered 12 large caches during Operation River Sweep west of Habbaniyah Jan. 1.

"The importance of the find deals directly with the insurgents' ability to wage anti-coalition force insurgent warfare," said 1st Lt. David Bradt, the 3/2 engineer platoon commander. "By taking away the materials that the insurgents use to conduct attacks, be they IEDs, indirect fire, or small-arms fire engagements, we are making the local area that much safer for Marines and Iraqis."

The engineers, who were operating in concert with elements of the 1st Iraqi Army Division and 3/2, discovered the stockpiles in a combined cache hunt designed to interrupt insurgent activity in the area.

The Marines discovered three Soviet-made hand grenades, four type 86P grenades, two TM 57 antitank mines, two 57 mm high explosive antitank rockets, one 107 mm high-explosive rocket, 14 120 mm high-explosive mortars, eight 122 mm high-explosive projectiles, one 160 mm high-explosive mortar, 12 130 mm high-explosive projectiles, 100 7.62 X 54 rounds, 12 warheads, five 50 kg bombs, four acetylene tanks, one 60 mm high-explosive mortar and one guided missile.

The Marines destroyed all of the caches.

Elsewhere in Iraq, soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, "Polar Bears," 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), captured and extracted two anti-aircraft systems during a combat operation in Yusufiyah Jan. 1, officials reported.

The operation, dubbed “Polar Pounce,” was intended to seize anti-aircraft weapons identified by aircraft earlier in the afternoon.

Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT found the two 57 mm anti-aircraft weapons and evacuated them from the area. During the same operation, soldiers of Task Force Iron Claw discovered an IED made from a 120 mm mortar, a bottle of homemade explosives and a crushed wire initiator as they were clearing the route for the crane and trucks to load and extract the guns. They took the guns to Patrol Base Yusufiyah.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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