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Soldier Killed in Mosul Shooting; Offensive Operations Continue

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2003 – A drive-by shooting attack today on soldiers guarding a gas station in Mosul, Iraq, left one coalition soldier dead, even as coalition forces continue to take the offensive against the enemies of a stable and free Iraq, officials said today at the headquarters of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

A U.S. Central Command news release said the soldier who was killed was a member of the Army's 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) whose name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

At a news conference that began at 9 a.m. EST today, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for Combined Joint Task Force 7, said the previous 24 hours had seen coalition forces conduct 1,663 patrols and 14 raids, capturing 76 suspects.

Forces in northern Iraq conducted 202 of the patrols and five "cordon-and-knock" operations, detaining 19 people. In such operations, coalition forces seal off an area where targeted suspects are believed to be and conduct door-to-door searches within that area to find the suspects.

Two people were detained when coalition forces found a weapons cache that included 46 rocket-propelled grenades at a Mosul furniture store during a cordon-and-knock operation. Also, Kimmitt said, tips and turn-ins from Iraqi citizens produced "significant amounts" of weapons, ammunition and small arms in Mosul.

Coalition forces in the north along the Syrian border were fired upon during the last two nights, Kimmitt said, and conducted operations at five different locations east of the border. Eight people who fired at an observation post in Qaiyara from two vehicles were detained.

Thirty-five Iraqi Civil Defense Corps noncommissioned officers graduated from the ICDC's third Primary Leadership Development Course Dec. 7, Kimmitt said. With the help of the ICDC in Mosul, he added, two members of the Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary organization were captured two nights ago.

In the north-central zone, coalition soldiers conducted 396 patrols and 14 raids, and captured 46 people. A roadside bomb injured four ICDC soldiers. All were taken to a coalition base for treatment, Kimmitt said, and three returned to duty.

Soldiers raided a building in Samarra where officials thought an individual believed to be financing anti- coalition activities was hiding, Kimmitt said. Though soldiers didn't find the person they were looking for, they captured one of his relatives, who is also believed to be part of the financing operation. Using information the relative provided, soldiers captured another relative from the financing ring and confiscated $2 million in U.S. cash.

In Zahairiya, soldiers captured five people and seized small-arms weapons and ammunition. One of the people arrested was wanted in connection with the murder of an Iraqi citizen who had been helping the coalition, Kimmitt said.

Iraqi police found an improvised explosive device near a government building in Baqubah, and an Iraqi police bomb squad member died when it exploded as he attempted to disarm it.

The Army's 1st Armored Division conducted 514 patrols and four offensive operations in Baghdad, detaining 17 people.

A patrol was alerted to an explosion the evening of Dec. 6 in Sadr City. Witnesses told the soldiers that four Iraqis had tried to fire an improvised multiple-rocket launcher that malfunctioned and exploded, killing three at the scene and wounding another, Kimmitt said. Iraqi police took the wounded man to a hospital, where he later died.

Using information provided by an Iraqi citizen, soldiers raided the home of a man who worked as a guard at a local mosque. They captured four people and found hand grenades of the same type that have been thrown at patrols in the vicinity for seven months, Kimmitt said. Soldiers also seized bomb-making materials and circuit boards.

In the west, the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and other coalition units conducted 180 patrols, including 11 joint patrols with Iraqi border police and local police forces. Seventeen enemies were captured in seven offensive operations, Kimmitt said.

Five people caught in the act of planting roadside bombs near Iskandariyah were captured. A subsequent search, Kimmitt said, yielded 10 100-pound artillery rounds being rigged together as a large bomb.

Information from several Iraqi citizens led to the capture of nine people and the seizure of weapons and ammunition near Hadithah, Kimmitt said. They're suspected of being weapons dealers and of engaging in anti- coalition activities, he added.

Forces in the center-south zone conducted 145 patrols and detained 100 people, all of whom were later deported to Iran, Kimmitt said. In the southeast zone, coalition forces conducted 226 patrols and four raids, detaining 11 people.

In a series of cordon-and-search operations in Shata, the coalition seized "significant amounts" of weapons and ammunition, Kimmitt said. Information from an Iraqi citizen resulted in two people being detained in connection with an attack on a coalition patrol in Safwan Dec. 6. Two other Iraqis were arrested in connection with the same attack.

Calling the numbers "significantly lower than recent norms," Kimmitt said the least seven days have seen an average of 18 engagements against coalition military forces per day, two per day against Iraqi security forces, and one per day against Iraqi civilians.

The general said that despite the downturn, the coalition anticipates and is prepared for any increase in attacks over the coming days and weeks. "The coalition will remain offensively oriented in order to proactively attack, to kill or capture anti-coalition elements and enemies of the Iraqi people; to obtain intelligence for future operations; and to ensure the people of Iraq of our determination to establish a safe and secure environment," Kimmitt said.

Meanwhile, the rebuilding of Iraq continues. Coalition soldiers and the citizens of Du Kardakan had a ribbon- cutting ceremony for a "model village" that includes homes for both Arab and Kurdish families, Kimmitt said. The village, which had been destroyed, was rebuilt over the last six months.

Civil affairs personnel in the west gave $3,000 for rehabilitation efforts at a primary school in Nasir Wa al-Salam. Kimmitt said the $10,000 project will affect 900 students and should be complete by Jan. 15. Civil affairs teams also met with local officials to identify a new landfill to be used for the clean-up of Highway 10 from Habbaniya to Ramadi, and finalized plans for a 200- meter extension on the Abdullah bin-Al Mubarak sewage canal renovation project, Kimmitt said.

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