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Forces Capture, Kill Terrorists, Seize Weapons Caches in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2007 – Coalition and Iraqi forces captured or killed insurgents and confiscated explosives, weapons and other contraband during operations in Iraq over the past few days.

Acting on a tip from a concerned citizen, Iraqi national police seized a weapons cache containing hundreds of deadly anti-tank mines during a raid in the Sadr City section of Baghdad yesterday, as other Operation Law and Order operations continue in and around the Iraqi capital and western Iraq.

The raid was conducted by Iraqi lawmen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Brigade, 2nd Division of the Iraqi National Police. The Iraqis were backed up by U.S. soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. An Iraqi citizen told the police about the location of the weapons cache, which contained 470 anti-tank mines, according to officials.

Another March 24 operation in Iraq involved a coalition air strike conducted southeast of Ar Rutbah that killed three terrorists, officials said, while 12 other suspected terrorists were captured the same day during other operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq and other terrorists.

In the Ar Rutbah engagement, coalition forces attempted to detain four armed terrorists. One terrorist detonated an explosive device, killing himself. The other three attempted to escape in a vehicle. Coalition forces called in an air strike that destroyed the vehicle and killed the three armed men inside. Coalition forces found a suicide vest, grenades and weapons during a search of the scene. No civilians or friendly forces were injured.

In Mosul on March 24, coalition forces captured nine suspected terrorists with alleged involvement in foreign fighter facilitation and weapons distribution. Two additional suspects were captured in Baghdad with reported ties to vehicle-borne improvised explosive device manufacturing and another individual suspected of being a courier for al-Qaeda in Iraq was detained east of Balad, all on March 24.

"These operations serve as a message to terrorist elements that they will not operate freely or find safe haven in Iraq," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesperson.

Also on March 24, a car bomb detonated near an Iraqi National Police station in Baghdad, killing and wounding an unknown number of Iraqi police and civilians, officials said. Initial reports indicate that the police officers and Iraqi civilians died when the bomb detonated near a police compound in the Jazeera neighborhood of Baghdad's East Rashid district. An undetermined number of police and civilians were also injured.

Another vehicle-borne improvised explosive device destroyed the Haswah Husaniyah mosque located south of Baghdad in a suicide attack on March 24, killing four and wounding 39 people. The 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 8th Iraqi Infantry Division immediately sent military vehicles, Red Crescent ambulances and 14 Iraqi Army soldiers to assist in recovery and assistance operations. Paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division patrolling nearby had observed a dump truck moving within 100 feet of the mosque. The vehicle then detonated.

In other news, Iraqi police apprehended a suicide truck bomber and his vehicle in Ramadi March 23. The vehicle carried a large quantity of chlorine and explosives, but it failed to detonate.

The white cargo truck came to a halt near the entrance to the Jezeera police station, located about 150 meters from a water treatment plant. The police approached the truck for investigation and detained the driver when they discovered that the truck was rigged with explosives and the driver was attempting to detonate the vehicle. The truck contained an unknown number of 55-gallon drums, which were used to camouflage five 1000-gallon barrels filled with chlorine and more than two tons of explosives. The driver is being held for questioning, and all explosives were removed from the truck and destroyed by demolition experts.

Additionally, Iraqi soldiers seized a large weapons cache with bomb-making material and detained 31 insurgents during an operation conducted south of Baghdad on March 23, officials said. Iraqi soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 8th Army Division and U.S. troops with the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division conducted the cordon and search near Diyarah, Iraq.

The cache included nine AK-47s, one heavy machine gun, ammunition and magazines, three concussion grenades, one 122 mm artillery round, one 105 mm artillery round, one anti-tank mine, one rocket-propelled grenade, a variety of bomb-making materials, a tractor and five civilian trucks.

"Our soldiers felt good about their performance in this operation," said Brig. Gen. Abdul Amir, 2nd Brigade, 8th Iraqi Army Division commander. "Much was achieved by this operation today." The suspects are being held for further questioning.

In other news, Iraqi Army commandos captured an alleged murderer and kidnapper during a coalition-supported raid conducted March 23 in the Sadr City section of Baghdad, officials said.

Credible intelligence indicates that the detained suspect planned, organized and participated in the kidnapping and killing of civilians and was involved in intimidation and extortion rackets, according to officials. He’s also suspected of transporting illegal weapons and munitions and taking part in attacks against Iraqi security forces.

Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces and coalition soldiers arrested three suspects while seizing two improvised explosive devices, loose explosives and IED-making paraphernalia and other prohibited items during a March 23 raid in Baghdad’s Al Mansour district, officials said.

In other news, Multi-National Division Baghdad soldiers found a large weapons cache southwest of Radwaniyah, Iraq, March 23, officials said.

Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment "Golden Dragons," 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) discovered the cache during a combat patrol in the area. The cache contained thousands of rounds of ammunition and other weapons-related items. The contents of the cache were destroyed.

Also, a parked vehicle borne improvised explosive device detonated north of An Najaf, Iraq, March 23, wounding two Iraqi policemen and one civilian, officials reported. The vehicle’s driver was detained by the Najaf police and is in custody. Other Iraqi security forces responded to the scene, secured the site and took the injured to a nearby medical facility. The incident is under investigation.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq, Multinational Division Iraq and Defense Department news releases.)

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