Nearly 100 Detained in Iraq; Weapons Caches Found, Destroyed
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2007 Coalition forces nabbed about 94 suspects and discovered several weapons caches during raids across Iraq in the past three days.
Coalition forces detained 11 suspected al Qaeda in Iraq members today, nabbing 10 suspects in Samarra and another in Baghdad. Intelligence reports indicate the suspect detained in the Iraqi capital was part of a local operation to acquire bomb-making materials, military officials said.
“Almost every day, … al Qaeda in Iraq uses explosives to kill and maim innocent Iraqis and the security forces striving to protect them,” said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “Removing these explosives and the terrorists who use them is a top priority.”
Army soldiers attached to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment "Polar Bears," and the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment "Golden Dragons" of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, discovered two improvised explosive devices and a weapons cache southwest of Baghdad today.
The first IED was discovered by 2-69 Armor soldiers southwest of Yusufiyah at 9:35 a.m.. While conducting a dismounted patrol, soldiers of Company D, 4-31 Infantry, discovered another IED near Rushdi Mullah at 10:05 a.m.
In another operation, the Golden Dragons found a weapons cache near Rushdi Mullah that contained three rocket-propelled-grenade rounds, a bag filled with unknown types of explosives, three bags of crystalline powder, and three large blasting caps. An explosive ordnance team destroyed the cache and IEDs during a controlled detonation.
During a raid in Basra today, Iraqi special operations Forces detained Sayyid Sallih al-Jezzaani, the alleged leader of a rogue Jaysh al-Madhi militia element. Military officials said he is linked to death squad activities and attacks against coalition forces in the region.
Jezzaani is also responsible for funding and arming insurgents and assisting in recruiting new militia members. He is also connected to the February murder of two Iraqi interpreters who worked with coalition forces.
As Iraqi and coalition forces arrived in the district of Abilla in Basra, enemy forces fired rocket-propelled grenades and detonated improvised explosive devices on the assault force. No fire was returned as the assault force proceeded to their objective.
Iraqi special operations forces with coalition advisors found Jezzaani equipped with body armor and a weapon; he offered no resistance while being captured. Seven other suspicious individuals were also detained during the operation. No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured during this operation.
In a massive synchronized effort yesterday, coalition forces captured 72 suspected terrorists and discovered bomb-making materials during overnight operations targeting the al Qaeda in Iraq network. Troops raided targets in Anbar and Salah ad Din provinces, and operations in Samarra alone yielded 36 individuals with alleged ties to al Qaeda terrorists.
Near Karmah, intelligence reports led coalition forces to 20 5-gallon drums of nitric acid and other bomb-making materials, military officials said.
"Coalition operations like these continue to chip away at the al Qaeda in Iraq network, and we will continue to target them as long as they continue to injure and kill the innocent people of Iraq," Garver said.
Iraq security forces with support from 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division soldiers detained several individuals during an operation in the Kadamiyah area yesterday targeting several high-value individuals. The detainees were turned over to the Iraqi security forces.
In other news from Iraq, an explosion rocked the Hiyyaniyah district of Basra yesterday around 10:20 p.m., killing six civilians and wounding several others. Coalition forces said the explosion is likely to have been an accidental detonation during movement and transportation of explosives in an automobile. The incident is under investigation.
The al Hiyyaniyah district is known to be under the influence of the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia, which intimidates local people to further its own agenda, military officials said. No coalition forces were injured during the explosion.
Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers foiled an insurgent plot to target an all-girls' school north of Baghdad with numerous improvised explosive devices April 28.
Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, discovered a command wire leading from the school's outer perimeter to one of the rooms at the Huda Girls' School, in Tarmiyah, Iraq. Inside the room, the cavalry troops discovered five artillery shell explosives. Insurgents had also buried two large explosive-filled propane tanks under the school's floor and placed numerous projectiles underneath electrical conduits in front of each classroom.
The unit believes al Qaeda extremists operating in the area are responsible for the placing the explosives in an attempt to hinder the progress the local government has made to improve citizens’ lives. The reconstructed school, a project led by the local Tarmiyah government, was scheduled to open in the coming weeks. This is the second time this month explosives have been found in the facility.
"This is a testimony of how little the al Qaeda of Iraq truly care about the citizens of Iraq," said Army Lt. Col. Scott Efflandt, commander of 2-8th Cavalry.
An explosive ordnance disposal team transported all of the explosive rounds from the school for disposal.
(Information compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)