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Coalition Troops in Iraq Detain 6 Suspects During Raids

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2008 – Coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists yesterday during operations targeting al Qaeda in Iraq networks along the Tigris River Valley, military officials said.

In Mosul, coalition forces captured a suspect believed to be the deputy leader of al Qaeda in Iraq in that city. Reports indicate the suspect is responsible for local terrorist attacks, abductions and executions. The detainee also is linked to several al Qaeda in Iraq operatives.

In Baghdad, coalition forces captured two suspects tied to the al Qaeda in Iraq network in Rusafah. One detainee is linked to an alleged terrorist attack coordinator recruited by a senior al Qaeda leader in Baghdad. The suspects reportedly were planning a suicide attack targeting coalition forces and concerned local citizens operating in the area.

In Tikrit, coalition forces detained three more suspected al Qaeda terrorists.

“Al Qaeda (in) Iraq is on the run,” said Army Lt. Patrick Evans, a coalition spokesman. “Coalition and Iraqi forces will continue to target their networks in Iraq to degrade their ability to conduct horrific attacks."

In other operations:

-- Two U.S. UH-64 Apache helicopter crews killed three suspected al Qaeda in Iraq extremists near Maderiyah on Jan. 4 and 5. Operation Marne Thunderbolt killed two extremists in a Jan. 4 air strike. The following day, U.S. soldiers called in another air strike that killed a suspected terrorist believed to be hiding weapons.

-- U.S. soldiers patrolling Baghdad’s eastern Doura section on Jan. 2 found a 155 mm artillery round with a detonation cord attached, four 107 mm rockets, three pineapple grenades, 170 pounds of homemade explosives, a satchel charge, two electronic initiators and 15 blasting caps.

-- A joint U.S.-Iraqi force found a weapons cache while patrolling the Saydiyah area on Jan. 1. Items confiscated included a cache of five shotguns of various types, two black-powder rifles, 14 flintlock pistols and six handguns, six knives of various lengths and sizes, a hatchet, a bow and two phone cards.

“These discoveries highlight the fact that our joint forces will root out the bad guys and confiscate their weapons,” said Army Maj. Kirk Luedeke, a Task Force Dragon spokesman. “Finding these weapons allows the Iraqi people to feel that much safer.”

In other news, Iraqi National Police arrested three suspected kidnappers and saved a university student near the Turakmen Club in eastern Baghdad Jan. 1.

Acting on a tip, Iraqi police Col. Hasseeb Kareem directed officers to be on the lookout for suspects traveling in a green Toyota sedan with a possible kidnapping victim. Officers at a checkpoint near the Turakmen Club spotted the vehicle and forced the driver to stop. The police arrested the three suspected kidnappers and freed a male university student who had been restrained and placed inside the vehicle’s trunk. Coalition officials believe the arrests will reduce kidnappings for ransom in the area.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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