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33 Detained in Iraq; Suicide Bombing Kills 28

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2007 – Coalition forces detained 33 terrorist suspects and responded to a suicide-bomb attack in Iraq over the past two days.

About 400 Iraqi army soldiers, from the 2nd Strategic Infrastructure Brigade, detained more than 24 suspected terrorists during joint operations in Bayji today. Paratroopers from the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, provided quick-reaction assets.

"The Iraqis are taking great strides in leading and planning operations," said Army Col. Bryan Owens, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. "Their continued success will help to make Salah ad Din a peaceful place for all its citizens."

In other operations today, Iraqi army soldiers from the 1st and 3rd battalions of the 4th Division, and Iraqi police from Tikrit's emergency service unit detained eight suspected terrorists in Duluiyah and the Jabouri peninsula.

U.S. Army soldiers from Company A, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and attack helicopters assisted the Iraqi-led operations, which began at the request of the local populace.

"This operation demonstrates the ability of the (Iraqi security force) to react and conduct complex operations,” said Army Lt. Col. Kevin Dunlop, commander of the 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. “The support of the forces from Tikrit has been outstanding, and it's impressive that the Iraqi army is able to mass forces at different points in the province."

“Operations like this are possible only because local people come forward with information and ask for help,” he said. “The more information and cooperation the Iraqi army receives, the more frequently it can conduct these missions, so that security is provided for everyone.”

Yesterday in Iraq, soldiers of the 4th "Polar Bears" Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, spotted two local men -- one armed with an AK-47 assault rifle -- emplacing an improvised explosive device near a canal in Yusufiyah.

Soldiers fired a single warning shot, and the armed man returned fire. The soldiers returned well-aimed fire and wounded the terrorist in the shoulder and leg, U.S. officials said. The other man fled. The wounded man was evacuated for medical treatment and is being held for questioning.

Elsewhere in Iraq yesterday, a terrorist suicide bomber attacked a coffee shop and killed 28 local citizens and wounded 31 in Dor Mandali, near Balad Ruz.

"These acts are indicative of a desperate and cowardly enemy which will only strengthen the resolve of the free people of Balad Ruz and Diyala," said Army Lt. Col. Andrew Poppas, commander of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, responded to the site in coordination with a platoon of soldiers from the 293rd Military Police Company, to provide medical assistance and security.

“Al Qaeda using suicide bombers to attack the coffee shop in Balad Ruz are nothing more than barbarians who have no reverence for the innocent people of Diyala,” said Army Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Cavalry, and the senior coalition forces commander in the province.

“These terrorists have no respect for human rights and show nothing but contempt to the population and their desire to become a free and democratic society,” he said.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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