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Combined Forces Kill 21 Insurgents, Detain 20; Car Bombs Damage Mosques

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2007 – Coalition and Iraqi forces have killed 21 insurgents, detained 20 suspects, and discovered several weapons caches over the past few days in Iraq, military officials reported. Also, two car bombs detonated near Abu Ghraib yesterday, causing major damage to two mosques.

Coalition forces killed one terrorist and detained 12 suspected terrorists during operations targeting the al Qaeda in Iraq network today in Anbar province.

Based on information gained from an operation May 27, coalition forces raided several buildings northeast of Fallujah. After the coalition forces announced their presence through an interpreter, one terrorist outside the building threw a hand grenade at the ground forces. Coalition forces took appropriate self-defense measures and engaged the armed terrorist with small-arms fire, killing him.

Coalition forces searched the buildings and detained 12 suspected terrorists for their alleged involvement in the al Qaeda in Iraq network. Information gained from earlier operations indicates the suspects are involved in indoctrination for al Qaeda in Iraq. In one ceremony conducted by the network, those who declined to join the terrorist group were killed.

"Terrorists have no place in the future of Iraq, and their elimination will help allow the people of Iraq to choose a secure future," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

In another operation, Iraqi national police prevented a suicide bomber driving a mini-bus from entering Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood yesterday.

While waiting in line to enter Sadr City, the driver of the vehicle detonated the car bomb 200 meters from the checkpoint, killing four Iraqi civilians and wounding eight others. No Iraqi security forces were injured in the explosion. Following the blast, Iraqi explosive ordnance teams defused additional unexploded munitions in the vehicle.

Elsewhere, two car bombs detonated, causing major damage to two mosques near Abu Ghraib yesterday.

The first attack occurred at 10:56 a.m., near an Iraqi army traffic-control point. A suicide bomber in a tractor trailer detonated what explosive ordnance teams estimated to be 800-1,000 pounds of explosives, killing two Iraqi army soldiers and one Iraqi resident and wounding four other soldiers.

The blast severely damaged two nearby mosques. A Shiia mosque was nearly 90 percent destroyed in the attack, while a nearby Sunni mosque was heavily damaged, as well. Other buildings, including a school and several shops, also were damaged in the attack. Eight civilian vehicles were also damaged.

In the second attack, at about 11 a.m., a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle about four blocks away from the first attack. One Iraqi army soldier was killed and another injured in the blast.

Coalition forces said the attacks may have been launched by al Qaeda in order to disrupt the reconciliation process in the area. "This type of attack shows al Qaeda has a complete disregard for all Iraqis, regardless of what sect they belong to," said Lt. Col. Peter Andrysiak, deputy commanding officer for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, whose troops work in the Abu Ghraib area.

In Baghdad, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers and Iraqi army forces conducted a targeted raid and detained two suspected kidnappers June 6.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and Company A, 2nd Battalion, 136th Combined Arms Brigade, established a perimeter around a western Baghdad home and knocked on the front door.

The soldiers, along with their Iraqi counterparts from the 3rd Battalion, 6th Iraqi Army, detained the suspect accused of planning, coordinating and executing numerous kidnappings throughout western Baghdad. The man was taken into custody without incident, and the other occupants of the home were questioned.

Following a search of the home, the suspect's brother was found to possess personal items belonging to an Iraqi interpreter killed three days earlier when the vehicle he was traveling in was struck by an improvised explosive device. With the evidence discovered in the home, the brother also was detained. Both suspects remain in custody.

In a separate operation, Iraqi army forces conducted an early-morning operation June 6, capturing two insurgent leaders linked to an al Qaeda terrorist network in northern Iraq and detaining five other suspected insurgents. The two insurgent leaders are accused of conducting multiple assassinations and improvised-explosive-device attacks on innocent civilians and coalition forces.

Acting on previous intelligence, Iraqi forces raided the residences and detained their primary targets without incident. Five other individuals were detained during the operation.

Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers, acting on a tip from a local Iraqi citizen, discovered and destroyed a car bomb and an explosives cache in southern Baghdad June 6.

Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment "Vanguards," discovered the car bomb while on patrol in a rural area after receiving a report from a local resident of suspicious activity in the area.

A search of the area also resulted in the discovery of 14 55-gallon drums containing homemade explosives. After cordoning off the area, both the car bomb and explosives were disposed of by an explosive ordnance disposal team.

"This is one more car bomb and cache of explosives discovered and destroyed that will never be used against innocent Iraqi civilians or coalition forces," said Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. "I'm extremely proud of these soldiers who continue to maintain their edge and act on information provided by courageous Iraqis who are taking a stand against insurgent activity here."

Elsewhere, a joint team of Iraqi and coalition forces used air and ground firepower to destroy insurgents operating in Kabat village, near Baqouba, June 5.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, and Company D, 1-12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, engaged and killed 19 insurgents and wounded one other after the insurgents fired on the joint team with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from inside three buildings.

"The Iraqi soldiers demonstrated their increased capabilities and, with support from coalition forces, brought those terrorists to justice," said Army Lt. Col. James D. George Jr., acting commander for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Iraqi army and coalition ground forces, supported by attack aircraft, fixed terrorist positions and used combined ground and air firepower, consisting of small arms, rockets and bombs, to kill or root out the insurgents. Two Iraqi army soldiers were killed, and one U.S. soldier and one Iraqi civilian were wounded during the engagement.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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