U.S. Troops Detain Bomb-Laden Iraqi Bicyclist
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2007 U.S. soldiers in Baghdad pursued and detained a bicyclist yesterday after being tipped off by concerned residents that he was transporting bomb-making materials on his bike.
"We set up a screen around the area where we knew he would be, so that any direction he took off in we could grab him," said Army 2nd Lt. Kyle Graham, from 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, who led the patrol.
Once troops spotted the bicycle, the soldiers gave chase in Humvees and cut the suspect off near a market. Graham, a former football player, was halfway out of his vehicle before it had stopped, officials said. He exited the truck and wrestled the startled suspect to the ground.
The suspect was carrying about 30 pounds of home-made explosives in his bicycle basket.
In operations today in Iraq:
-- Coalition forces in Mosul captured a suspected al Qaeda car-bomb maker believed to be involved in kidnappings. Ground forces detained three other suspected terrorists on the scene. As the assault force was leaving the area, an armed man near the target buildings engaged the force with small-arms fire. A coalition forces sniper returned fire, killing him.
-- In southern Baghdad, coalition forces captured an individual with alleged close ties to al Qaeda senior leaders. Ground forces detained a total of three suspected terrorists during the operation.
-- Coalition forces captured a suspected al Qaeda emir west of Kirkuk. Intelligence reports indicate that in addition to leading terrorist activities in the area, the individual has connections to al Qaeda senior leaders in Tamim province.
-- A raid west of Muqdadiyah targeted a suspected al Qaeda intelligence operative who also is believed to be associated with “the illegal terrorist justice system,” U.S. military officials said. Coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists on site.
-- Coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists during a raid in northern Tarmiyah. The targeted individual was suspected of providing safe houses used in moving foreign terrorists in Iraq.
-- Coalition forces northwest of Balad targeted a senior al Qaeda leader believed to operate out of Syria and his Iraqi facilitator. They are suspected of smuggling explosives and foreign terrorists into the country for attacks. The ground forces detained eight suspected terrorists.
"These operations continue to give us information that helps us target terrorists in future operations, like pulling on the links of chain," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will continue to put pressure on al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders and capture or kill them."
In other operations this week:
--Coalition forces in northern Taji yesterday captured a suspected al Qaeda leader responsible for coordinating attacks.
-- Coalition forces yesterday raided a building in Mosul looking for an individual who is believed to be a close associate of an al Qaeda senior leader. They detained one suspected terrorist during the operation.
-- During Operation Firecracker, soldiers seized a cache of weapons and bomb-making materials and detained a man believed to be connected with the cache in a Baghdad neighborhood Aug. 7. The troops uncovered two AK-47 assault rifles, about 200 AK-47 rounds, three 9 volt batteries, one 9 mm pistol, two hand-held radios, and numerous wires and electronic connectors and switches used for making bombs.
"We're confident that this seizure prevented a major (improvised explosive device) event," said Army Capt. Brian McCall, commander of Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment. "With the pilgrimage to the Kadhimiya shrine under way, any weapons we can keep off the streets will go a long way toward securing the march."
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)