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Two U.S. Soldiers Die; U.S., Iraqi Raids Net Suspects, Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2005 – A U.S. soldier in Iraq died today after sustaining injuries in a vehicle accident near Muqdadiyah, while another was killed April 25 on patrol in northwest Baghdad by an improvised explosive device.

The names of the soldiers are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Also, U.S. and Iraqi forces nabbed several suspected terrorists as well as weaponry and other items during raids conducted over the past few days.

In raids conducted April 25, U.S. soldiers detained two suspected terrorists believed to be members of an execution cell operating in Kharnabat village.

"These aren't random searches," said Army Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, Task Force Baghdad's spokesman. The raids were conducted using "specific, credible information" provided by Iraqi citizens, he said in a release today.

"We are questioning people in the area and conducting our operations based mainly on this information," he added.

Recent U.S. military sweeps conducted throughout the Baghdad area have resulted in the deaths of several terrorists and the capture of at least 41 suspects while seizing weapons caches and other munitions. Those captured include 10 terrorists suspected to have possible links to the April 22 attack of a civilian Mi-8 helicopter.

Iraqi army and Task Force Liberty soldiers detained two suspected terrorists in as Sadiyah in Diyala province on April 25 during a series of evening raids. The individuals are suspected of being members of a terrorist cell and were found with equipment used to make identification cards and terrorist propaganda. Two other individuals were also detained during the raid.

In another mission, U.S. soldiers recovered a cache of mines and artillery rounds near Bayji in Salah ad Din province April 25. Helicopters identified the cache site, which included 30 anti-personnel mines and 30 artillery rounds, ranging from 57 mm to 155 mm. Explosive ordnance disposal troops destroyed the mines and munitions.

Elsewhere, U.S. soldiers detained four individuals believed to have direct links to recent violent attacks in the Baghdad area. The American troops have conducted a series of offensive operations against terrorists in the Baghdad area since April 24.

In the past week, citizen's tips aided coalition forces in uncovering four major weapons caches. The caches contained more than 2.5 million anti-aircraft rounds, 900 mortar rounds, two 250-pound Russian-made bombs, 75 anti-tank mines, and 225 pounds of TNT, as well as hundreds of hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and bomb-making materials.

"Despite some high-profile enemy attacks this week, the coalition continued to strengthen its partnership with its Iraqi counterparts," said Col. Brian Stephenson, Multinational Corps Iraq chief of operations.

For example, multiple units from the Iraqi security forces supported by 2nd Brigade Combat Team's 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, unearthed a large weapons cache in Salman Pak April 24. The buried cache, in southeastern Baghdad, consisted of 503 mortar rounds wrapped in plastic and ranging from 60 mm to 120 mm. U.S. soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, and members of the 4th Iraqi Intervention Force discovered the cache based on tips from local residents.

"This cache will significantly disrupt enemy activity in our area of operations," said Army Maj. Dan Cormier, 2nd Brigade Combat Team operations officer, in a statement. "The enemy appears to be on the run. We've neutralized anti-Iraqi forces' capabilities for using Salman Pak as a staging area. The scope of our operation demonstrates the significant and increasing capabilities of the Iraqi security forces."

Coalition and Iraqi security forces have conducted more than 2,500 patrols across Iraq, officials said. This has led to the detention of hundreds of suspected terrorists.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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