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Iraqi Army Raid Nets 3 Tons of TNT, 121 Terrorism Suspects

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2005 – A 3-ton cache of TNT and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition are off the streets of Iraq following an Iraqi army raid near Jurf al-Sakher on March 25, Iraqi military officials reported.

A press statement from Iraq's Defense Ministry said 121 suspects were detained in the raid, conducted by the Iraqi army's 8th Division, based in Karbala.

Besides the TNT, Iraqi soldiers seized 624 rifles, 250,000 light ammunition rounds, 22,000 medium rounds, 193 rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, 300 RPG rockets, 27 82 mm mortar tubes, and 155 82 mm mortar rounds.

Today, Task Force Liberty soldiers found about 200 60 mm mortar rounds and two tank rounds north of Baqubah. The soldiers, from the task force's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, transported the munitions to a coalition base for destruction.

Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), detained 10 suspected terrorists in two separate missions in northern Iraq March 27.

During a raid in western Mosul, soldiers, from 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, detained eight people suspected of attacking Iraqi security forces and ordering the March 20 assassination of Iraqi Gen. Waleed Kashmoula.

During a cordon-and-search operation, U.S. soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment detained two people suspected of terrorist activity. Officials reported no multinational troops were injured in these missions.

In other news from Iraq, authority over Multinational Force West transferred officially March 27. Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, transferred authority to Marine Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Johnson, commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

"I've never been more optimistic in my almost two years of association with this area," said Sattler. "The energy, the enthusiasm of the people is catapulting this movement forward. The Iraqi security forces are capable, well-led and confident, and that confidence flows over to the Iraqi people."

Johnson expressed his view of the future of Iraq. "We are going to see a great increase in the Iraqi security forces; they are becoming very effective," he said. "We are going to see the emergence of the Iraqi government. Their constitution is being written, elections are being held and political decisions are being made in a democratic fashion.

"We are going to see their economy pick up," he continued. "We are going to see opportunities for jobs and for industry. And we are also going to see the emergence of truth. For years, this country has not known truth, and we will be seeing more of that."

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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