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Soldiers Detain Suspects, Uncover Weapons Caches

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2005 – Task Force Liberty soldiers detained six individuals and confiscated a number of weapons during a raid against weapons dealers southwest of Tuz today, military officials reported.

Acting on a tip from Iraqi citizens, soldiers from the Tennessee Army National Guard's 278th Regimental Combat Team detained the suspected weapons dealers and confiscated three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, one improvised explosive device, three sniper rifles and plastic explosives. The detainees were taken to a coalition forces base for questioning.

Task Force Liberty soldiers also detained three suspected terrorists today during raids south of Bayji. Two of the individuals are suspected of being members of a cell responsible for mortar attacks in the Tikrit area.

Officials also reported today that a tip by local Iraqi citizens led soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's Task Force Baghdad, who were patrolling in west Baghdad, directly to a weapons cache and two suspected terrorists May 4.

Local residents invited the soldiers, who were on routine patrol, into a house to show them several computers, pagers and cordless phones with base stations and bundles of wires that could be used to detonate bombs. Two individuals in the home were detained for questioning.

In northwest Baghdad the same day, Task Force Baghdad soldiers discovered a weapons cache containing 138 rockets, 91 mortar rounds, five guided missiles and nine artillery rounds. The soldiers also found 200 pounds of plastic explosives, 200 pounds of gunpowder, hand grenades and numerous other bomb making materials.

"Over the past 10 days there have been a total of nine weapons caches found," said Col. David Bishop, commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armor Division. "At least 1,000 different explosive items have been seized. That's 300 to 500 roadside bombs and car bombs that the enemy will not be able to make."

Later that day, a joint patrol of Iraqi army soldiers and U.S. forces uncovered another weapons cache hidden in the basement of a house under construction in central Baghdad. The soldiers found one bulletproof vest, one AK-47 assault rifle, one sniper rifle and 39 rounds of ammunition.

In other May 4 combat operations, a U.S. patrol in south Baghdad caught a terrorist red-handed placing a roadside bomb on a major supply route. The insurgent tried to flee, but U.S. soldiers caught him and took him into custody for questioning.

After hitting a roadside bomb in west Baghdad, Task Force Baghdad soldiers stopped a truck that tried to flee the scene. The driver tested positive for traces of explosive residue and was taken into custody for questioning. No soldiers were injured in incident.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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