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Iraqi Forces Thwart Kidnapping, Capture Hijackers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2005 – Multinational forces announced March 12 that Iraqi highway patrol officers in Dhi Qar recently thwarted a kidnapping and, in two separate incidents, captured hijackers in Dhi Qar and Basra.

While attempting to make a traffic stop, Dhi Qar highway patrol officers shot the back tires of a vehicle that would not stop when it was signaled to pull over.

The patrol found two men and a boy, who turned out to be the son of the mayor of Nasiriyah, in the vehicle. The boy had been kidnapped by the two men, who were demanding a $30,000 ransom.

The kidnappers were arrested, charged and convicted of their crimes and are serving sentences of 10-20 years, officials said. The mayor of Nasiriyah lauded the chief of the Iraqi highway patrol and the arresting officers for their efforts.

In addition, the highway patrol recently conducted a raid outside Nasiriyah in which they arrested 11 individuals suspected of hijacking, including murder and larceny. Five of the arrested individuals were charged and convicted of more than 10 crimes. Each was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

In a separate incident in Basra, patrol officers conducted a checkpoint on the Tampa highway, where they captured two additional hijackers. The hijackers were charged and convicted of their crimes, which also included larceny and murder. They were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Officials did not release the dates of these incidents.

In other news from Iraq, members of the 24th Battalion, 6th Iraqi Intervention Force Brigade and other coalition forces killed two insurgents after the unit was attacked March 13 in Mosul. The unit's actions stopped the attack.

The IIF recovered a mortar tube used by the insurgents. One Iraqi soldier was wounded during the attacks and is being treated for his injuries.

Also on March 13, Iraqi police arrested a Saudi man carrying bombs in his vehicle and attempting to enter a Kirkuk airfield. The man was driving a vehicle carrying 14 120 mm artillery rounds. Officials believe the rounds were slated to be used as improvised explosive devices. The rounds were defused, and the driver is in the custody of the Iraqi police.

Elsewhere in Iraq, multinational forces announced today that in recent days Iraqi police commandos have seized illicit weapons and captured several insurgents. One of those captured is a Saudi who has denounced the insurgency and, according to multinational officials, was "relieved" to be captured by the commandos.

The apprehensions began March 11, when the police commandos' 1st Battalion set up a series of flash checkpoints west of Samarra. According to officials, an approaching vehicle saw the checkpoint, turned and attempted to escape. The commandos pursued the vehicle and it crashed and flipped after the commandos shot its tires.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq news releases.)

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Multinational Force Iraq
Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq

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