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Operations in Iraq Breaking Extremists’ Hold

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2007 – Coalition forces have positively identified a terrorist killed in a recent operation as al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Duha, coalition officials announced today.

Coalition and Iraqi forces also discovered arms caches and improvised explosive devices and distributed food to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The enemy continued to launch attacks aimed at civilians and Iraqi security forces.

Duha was responsible for attacks in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. The terrorist was involved in a number of criminal activities to include kidnapping, officials said.

During the raid Oct. 13, Duha fired a pistol at the coalition and Iraqi force as they entered. Coalition forces responded, killing him.

Along with kidnapping, Duha and his associates reportedly were involved in weapons facilitation and coordinating attacks against Iraqi security and coalition forces. Duha also is known to have numerous terrorist associates, including a key leader with ties to Syrian-based terrorists and the inner circle of al Qaeda in Iraq’s senior leadership.

In other news, Arab Jabour, Iraqi citizens led U.S. soldiers to a weapons cache Oct. 10.

The cache consisted of six 60 mm mortars, four mortar fuses, 100 feet of detonation cord, 20 Chinese-made charges and four unknown charge caps. The soldiers were patrolling the neighborhood when the Iraqi citizens approached.

The patrol transported the cache to their base and disposed of the weapons.

In eastern Baghdad, coalition forces killed one criminal and detained three suspects Oct. 11 during an operation to support ongoing efforts to stabilize the region.

Intelligence reports indicate the targeted individuals were involved in facilitating the movement of explosively formed penetrators into the area. During the operation, an armed man drew his weapon as the assault force approached. Responding to the threat, coalition forces engaged the armed man, killing him. Three other suspects were detained on site without incident.

The holy month of Ramadan ended Oct. 12, and Iraqi police and a local sheik led efforts to distribute food and water to a small village for Eid al-Fitr, the feast marking the end of Ramadan, in Nineveh province, Oct. 8.

Sheik Atiya of Haj Ali assisted with the distribution and praised the initiative, saying it conveyed “a sense of partnership toward a better future for the Iraqi public.”

“Delivering this food to the less fortunate families during Ramadan is just a small token of the respect we have for the Iraqis and their customs,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Diego Sanchez, civil affairs noncommissioned officer in charge for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “The IPs and Sheik Atiya truly took the lead in making this a success and ensuring a successful and prosperous Eid for all of the people of Haj Ali.”

The police delivered almost 500 pounds of flour, sugar, beans and drinking water to the north and south sections of the village of Haj Ali. Coalition artillerymen assisted the effort. Several other food deliveries are planned for small villages throughout the Nineveh province.

On Oct. 8, coalition helicopters killed six enemy fighters attempting to plant an improvised explosive device near a major road in east Mosul.

“These enemy fighters were in the act of placing an IED when our helicopters positively identified them, killed them and maintained observation on the area until ground forces arrived and removed the device, saving countless Iraqi and Coalition lives,” said Army Maj. Roderick Cunningham, spokesperson for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Helicopters from the 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment, stopped nine enemy fighters attempting to emplace a roadside bomb in the al-Sinaa neighborhood of east Mosul. Helicopters fired a Hellfire missile, killing two and forcing the others to flee.

Three additional individuals were attempting to escape to the west when they were engaged with 21 rockets and 40 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition, killing all of them.

Two more enemy fighters from the original group were discovered hiding in a nearby creek bed. The aircraft engaged them with an additional Hellfire missile, killing one.

The aviators called a ground force in to conduct a sweep of the area and find the IED that was being emplaced. They found a propane tank IED with an initiator in the middle of the road, as well as a 9mm pistol and a sledgehammer.

One enemy fighter was found wounded in critical condition and died en route to a combat support hospital, despite first aid administered at the scene.

Coalition explosive ordnance disposal specialists destroyed the IED where it was found.

In Rusafa, three Iraqis, including one police officer, were killed, and seven others wounded, when an insurgent detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device Oct. 12.

One Iraqi police vehicle was also destroyed in the explosion. Iraqi and U.S. soldiers responded and sealed off the area. They transported the wounded to a medical facility for treatment.

Both U.S. and Iraqi forces launch daily clearing operations to capture insurgents and uncover weapons caches. These missions aim to reduce sectarian violence and set the conditions for Iraqi takeover of security.

Terrorists launched three mortar rounds into Doura, a southern neighborhood of Baghdad, killing one civilian and wounding eight more, including four children Oct. 12.

The indirect-fire attack resulted in three large explosions near the Doura market. All four of the wounded children were under the age of 10, and were treated immediately on the scene, then evacuated to Yarmook Hospital in East Rashid for further medical care.

At least one child was in critical condition, while a second suffered serious shrapnel wounds but was reported as stable. The other wounded children were listed as stable, but no further details were available as to the extent of their injuries.

Coalition forces have searched the area where the mortars were fired from and continue to follow leads on suspects.

Information provided by concerned citizens in Haswah led to the capture of 12 terrorists, including the second most wanted man in North Babil, Oct. 12.

Acting on the tip, Iraqi policemen and U.S. paratroopers cornered the suspected high-value individual inside a mosque. The target is responsible for attacks against Iraqi security forces, coalition forces and local residents. After receiving approval, the Iraqi policemen entered the mosque and detained the men.

The police also found two AK-47 machine guns, two grenades and two ammunition vests were inside the mosque.

Two surge brigades coordinated to capture another high-value target in the Baghdad suburb of Nahrwan Oct. 11. The apprehension of the key insurgent will effectively disrupt extremists in the area, officials said.

Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division and the 82nd Airborne Division cooperated to capture the al Qaeda in Iraq leader.

After confirming the identity of the high-value individual, they turned him over to other coalition elements for processing and detention.

In other news, Multinational Division soldiers captured a kidnapper and freed a hostage being held for ransom Oct. 9 after being tipped off by residents of northern Baghdad’s Adhamiyah neighborhood.

Coalition soldiers conducted the operation that freed Majhid Hamid Majeed, a 33-year-old shop owner and father of five, from the tiny, squalid room where he was being held hostage. The man had been abducted the previous day by kidnappers who beat him and threatened to kill him unless his family paid a $10,000 ransom. As word about the kidnapping spread through the community, a citizen called a local tip line with information about the kidnappers’ identities.

A platoon from Troop C, 3rd Battalion, 7th Cavalry was on patrol when the tip came in. The patrol was immediately redirected to the residence the kidnappers were supposedly using as their base. When the soldiers burst through the door, the kidnapper who was guarding Majeed literally jumped out of his shoes and made a break for the roof, said Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Hand. The soldiers caught him before he could make it out of the house.

A search of the house quickly located Majeed, who was lying on a cot in a small room. Until the moment the soldiers came into the room, Majeed was sure he was going to be killed, he said. When the soldiers’ interpreter explained to Majeed that he was being rescued, the shop owner hugged and kissed him.

“Thank you America!” he exclaimed.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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