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Iraqi Tip Leads to Terrorists Suspected of Helicopter Attack

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2005 – An Iraqi civilian helped Task Force Baghdad soldiers find and apprehend six terrorists suspected of shooting down a civilian Mi-8 helicopter April 21, coalition officials in Baghdad, Iraq, announced today.

"The Iraqi citizen told the soldiers he knew where the blue KIA pickup truck the terrorists used during the attack was parked and led them to the site," a Multinational Force Iraq release stated. "When the soldiers got there, several other local residents confirmed the first tip and showed the soldiers where the terrorists lived."

Soldiers started to search two houses at 12:30 a.m. today. At the first house, they captured three men and confiscated bomb-making material. At the second house, the unit detained three more suspects involved in making improvised explosive devices, officials said, adding that all six men were taken into custody for questioning.

In other news from Iraq, Iraqi security forces and Task Force Baghdad soldiers helped put a stop to terrorist activity when they discovered weapons caches and improvised explosive devices in various parts of Iraq's capital city April 21.

Around 8 a.m., Iraqi police in eastern Baghdad identified a possible improvised explosive device and cordoned off the area to ensure the safety of civilians in the area. Less than an hour later, police reported they had detained a person suspected of being a "triggerman" who'd been planning to detonate the explosives.

A Task Force Baghdad patrol found an IED in western Baghdad at 1:30 p.m. Soldiers secured the site and called in an explosive ordnance disposal team, which determined the bomb had been prepared for a future attack.

Thirty minutes later, another Task Force Baghdad patrol reported a cache of 45 mines, 37 cases of ammunition, eight rockets, guns and rocket launchers. Iraqi Police had recently gathered the arsenal from local citizens who turned in the weaponry in Salman Pak. The munitions were destroyed by a controlled detonation.

"The people of Salman Pak have taken a great step forward by helping to turn in all these weapons and munitions. The people seem hopeful that normalcy and peace may now return to their lives, and our message to them is that the well-trained and -led Iraqi security forces will keep a permanent presence in their city," said Army Maj. Russ Goemaere, spokesperson for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

Another weapons cache was discovered around 4:30 p.m. by a Task Force Baghdad patrol. The cache included 200 mortar rounds, small arms and other explosives.

"Through the quick thinking and action by Iraqi security forces and Task Force Baghdad soldiers, some potentially violent attacks against innocent Iraqi citizens were averted today," said Army Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, Task Force Baghdad spokesman. "With the rise of a more vigilant public, terrorists are being frustrated in their attempts to attack the progress of democracy."

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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