Coalition Continues to Target al Qaeda Leaders in Iraq
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2007 Coalition forces detained six alleged terrorists this morning south of Tikrit while targeting an al Qaeda key leader responsible for coordinating attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces.
This terrorist leader also is believed to use kidnapping, extortion and manipulation of the fuel market to fund his terrorist operations, U.S. officials said.
An Iraqi civilian also was injured during the operation when coalition forces breeched the door of a targeted building. She was treated on scene by military medical personnel and transported to a military medical facility for further treatment.
"Al Qaeda in Iraq has a total disregard for the sanctity of human life, and they continually place innocent Iraqis in harm’s way in the midst of their terrorist activities," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.
Elsewhere today, during early-morning raids east of Balad, coalition forces detained 11 suspected terrorists for association with a high-level foreign terrorist facilitator with links to the foreign terrorist networks in North Africa, Europe and the Arabian Peninsula. During the raid, three armed men were observed maneuvering toward ground forces. Responding to the immediate threat, ground forces engaged the armed terrorists, killing one.
The remaining two terrorists moved into a tactical fighting position, which resulted in ground forces calling in close-air support to engage the armed terrorists in their fighting position. Ground forces assessed that both terrorists were killed, officials said.
In other operations today:
-- In the northern city of Mosul, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists, one believed to be a key leader in the Mosul al Qaeda network. The targeted individual is suspected of leading a sniper cell and a network planting bombs that have killed multiple civilians, as well as participating in an attack on an Iraqi national guard building in western Mosul.
-- During operations to the west and north of Tarmiyah, three suspected terrorists were detained for their association with an al Qaeda in Iraq emir in the area. During coalition operations targeting associates of the same al Qaeda emir, ground forces were fired on by a terrorist dressed in women's clothing.
-- In southern Tarmiyah, coalition forces detained one suspected terrorist for his association with al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders who use the area south of Tarmiyah as an attempted safe haven from coalition forces. "There are no safe havens for al Qaeda in Iraq," Garver said. "Coalition forces continually seek out and expose the terrorists in every nook and cranny where they seek to hide."
In operations yesterday, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists in Baghdad and Tarmiyah. The targeted individual in the Baghdad raid, a suspected key operative in the deadly Baghdad improvised-explosive-device and car-bomb network, was successfully apprehended by ground forces during a precision raid. A close associate of the al Qaeda Baghdad emir and another al Qaeda operative were detained in Tarmiyah.
Also yesterday, coalition forces captured what are believed to be terrorists with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force from Iran in a raid in Shulah. The captured suspected terrorists are believed to be key players in a major network for smuggling weapons and components of explosively formed penetrators from Iran into Iraq to be used against coalition forces.
“Coalition troops continue to conduct highly successful raids to capture these terrorists who bring EFPs and other lethal aid from Iran into Iraq," said Army Maj. Marc Young, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Iranian influence is hindering the prospects of peace and stability in Iraq. We remain committed to dismantling terror networks that seek to kill innocent Iraqis and coalition forces.”
In other operations this week, based on tips from an Iraqi citizen, coalition troops conducted a mission to remove illegal weapons from western Mosul neighborhoods July 30. Coalition troops captured an individual with a substantial weapons cache containing an anti-aircraft gun barrel, an anti-aircraft gun receiver, a sniper rifle, 2,000 rounds of machine gun ammunition, two AK-47 assault rifles, three rocket-propelled grenades and miscellaneous improvised explosive device-making materials. Two suspected terrorists also were detained for interrogation.
Iraqi security forces with U.S. Special Forces soldiers as advisors detained two suspected al Qaeda terrorists while conducting an intelligence-driven operation in the Doura neighborhood of Baghdad on July 29. Iraqi security forces also seized an AK-47, two loaded magazines and more than $3,500 in U.S. dollars. After completing the raid, Iraqi and U.S. forces received enemy fire from several buildings across the street. After positively identifying four armed insurgents, U.S. Special Forces soldiers called in precision aerial fire that resulted in four insurgents killed.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Corps Iraq and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Gulf news releases.)