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Coalition Detains 35 Suspects in Central, Northern Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2007 – Coalition forces detained 35 suspected terrorists during operations targeting al Qaeda in central and northern Iraq over the past two days.

Coalition forces captured a suspected terrorist believed to be a driver for the al Qaeda emir of Mosul yesterday, military officials reported. Based on information gathered during that operation, coalition forces then raided a building in Mosul today targeting the emir’s alleged associates. The ground forces detained two suspects said to be tied to the terrorist leader.

West of Baghdad today, coalition forces captured a suspected al Qaeda emir, believed to control 20-30 terrorist operatives. His terrorist cell is allegedly responsible for rocket and improvised-explosive-device attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces.

Coalition forces targeted an associate of the al Qaeda emir of Baghdad during a raid in Tarmiyah today. The ground forces detained three suspected terrorists.

Southwest of Taji, coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists while targeting an individual suspected of facilitating the movement of foreign terrorists in eastern Anbar province.

“These terrorists cannot hide; we will seek them out,” said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “The people of Iraq deserve the ability to choose their own future, free of brutal terrorist attacks.”

In other operations today, a Multinational Division Baghdad aircraft conducted a precautionary landing July 31 in an eastern portion of the Iraqi capital.

The aircraft, an AH-64 Apache helicopter, came under attack from ground fire and landed east of the New Baghdad District. The crew of the aircraft was successfully evacuated from the precautionary landing site by its sister aircraft.

The crewmembers were taken to a coalition medical treatment facility for a routine evaluation. The incident is under investigation, U.S. officials said.

Iraqi security forces, with U.S. Special Forces soldier advisors, conducted an early-morning raid yesterday detaining 13 individuals in an effort to disrupt terrorist weapons smuggling and early warning systems in the Nidah area of eastern Iraq.

After clearing six buildings, forces detained a primary target, along with 12 others. The primary suspect is thought to be a key member of the terrorist criminal network of al Qaeda in Iraq operating in the Mandali area. He is suspected of engaging in improvised explosive devices and car bomb activity, as well as mortar attacks, small-arms attacks, murder, kidnapping, ransom, and intimidation of local citizens.

Along with the suspected terrorists, two AK-47 assault rifles, three cell phones and a pick-up truck belonging to one of the detainees were also confiscated.

In operations July 29, Multinational Division Baghdad Apache helicopter crews located and engaged enemy rocket launchers in northern Baghdad. The crew reported finding 10 rocket-launching systems in an open area, possibly the same area from which a rocket attack was launched on the International Zone earlier the same day.

"Detailed reconnaissance and demonstrated aerial skills by the air weapons team were key in interdicting future rocket attacks directed at the International Zone," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Walach, commander of 1st "Attack" Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.

The Apache team was conducting a reconnaissance mission when it was called by ground forces from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, to go to the site.

The ground forces cleared the Apache crews to engage the launching systems, and the crews fired on them, disabling them. A ground unit from 2nd BCT later moved to the site to confiscate the rocket-launching systems while the Apache crews provided security.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula news releases.)

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