Coalition Forces Continue to Hunt Down Terrorists in Iraq
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2008 Coalition forces killed seven terrorists and detained 27 suspects today during operations to disrupt al Qaeda networks operating in central and northern Iraq.
In today’s operations:
-- Coalition forces targeted suspected associates of an al Qaeda suicide-bombing network during operations southwest of Kifri. The targeted individuals are believed to be associated with terrorists killed yesterday near Khalis. As the ground force arrived in the area, the soldiers saw four enemy personnel leave the target building. Supporting aircraft engaged their position, killing the four terrorists. When the individuals inside the building did not comply with the forces’ instructions to exit the building, the ground force engaged, killing three more terrorists. Coalition forces also detained 11 suspected terrorists during the coordinated operations and destroyed a building in the target area due to its potential use for terrorist activity.
-- Forces captured an alleged al Qaeda associate involved in the facilitation of weapons, improvised-explosive-device materials, vehicles and suicide bombers for use by terrorist networks throughout the capital city region. The suspect reportedly is a direct associate of several facilitators operating outside Iraq as well as four other suspected facilitators detained by coalition forces within the past month for their roles in the network, leaving the network in what officials called “a severely degraded state.” In addition to the wanted individual, the ground force detained another suspect.
-- Coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda member involved in facilitating supplies and finances for the Karkh IED network in Baghdad. The suspect reportedly is a close associate of several other bomb facilitators, including a senior leader of the northern Karkh network trying to reestablish operations after the network suffered significant degradation at the hands of coalition forces.
-- Coalition forces captured an alleged associate of an al Qaeda senior leader, who reportedly has direct ties to the overall leader of al Qaeda in Iraq during operations in Mosul. The suspect is believed to be a close associate of the terrorist leader's family and to have involvement in al Qaeda operations in the region. The ground force detained an additional three suspected terrorists during the operation.
-- Two suspected terrorists were detained during an operation targeting associates of an al Qaeda senior leader in southern Mosul. The terrorist leader allegedly is responsible for a group of foreign terrorists and suicide bombers who attack coalition and Iraq forces operating in the area. Reports indicate the group is responsible for a Jan. 28 attack that killed five coalition soldiers.
-- Coalition and Iraqi forces captured an alleged associate of a suspected al Qaeda leader in Kirkuk, who also was detained by Iraqi forces yesterday.
-- Four suspected terrorists were detained northeast of Samarra, while coalition forces were targeting associates of the al Qaeda leader in the city.
-- Two suspects were detained in Baghdad in connection with a Feb. 2 bombing attack in the eastern neighborhood of Shaab.
In other news from Iraq, soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team detained two suspected insurgents during a raid in southern Ghazaliyah yesterday. One of the men is a known member of a bombing network in the area. He is known to provide and emplace bombs and distribute materials within Baghdad’s Karkh district. His attacks primarily are directed at coalition forces, officials said.
Also yesterday, coalition forces killed six terrorists during two coordinated operations to disrupt al Qaeda networks operating north of Baqouba.
During one of the operations, coalition forces targeted alleged associates of a suicide-bomber facilitator operating between Baqouba and Baghdad. Intelligence reports led coalition forces to the suspected terrorists; location, where the assault force fired warning shots to get the three armed individuals to comply with instructions. One of the armed individuals detonated a suicide vest he was wearing, killing them and destroying a vehicle.
In a follow-on operation, forces targeted another alleged associate of the suicide-network facilitator. Coalition forces saw a suspected terrorist leave the target area and quickly maneuver into a nearby building after seeing them approaching. The assault force entered the building and received enemy gunfire. Responding in self-defense, they returned fire, killing three terrorists. The force also found a weapons cache inside the building.
Two Iraqi civilians were injured during the initial engagement and were treated on site before being airlifted to a military medical facility. The ground force secured the area and found two additional weapons caches, one inside the target individual’s vehicle and another just outside the building.
“We sincerely regret when civilians are injured during our operations and we make every effort to protect them,” Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said. “Al Qaeda kidnaps and tortures Iraqi citizens, deliberately bombs civilians in schools and marketplaces, and continues to endanger innocent women and children by hiding among them. The threat they pose to a safe and secure Iraq cannot be allowed, and we will continue to hunt down and dismantle al Qaeda’s networks across Iraq.”
On Feb. 4, a tip from an Iraqi on the location of a wanted insurgent led coalition forces to detain 10 suspects in the Sayifiyah area. Soldiers from 3rd Infantry Division conducted the raid against one of the squadron's high-value targets. The soldiers discovered nine other individuals with the targeted individual at the site. All suspects were taken in for questioning.
Also on Feb. 4, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers seized a large weapon and bomb-making cache in Abu Ghraib, west of the Iraqi capital.
The soldiers were searching the area as part of an ongoing operation when they recovered 13 120 mm mortar rounds, 132 82 mm mortar rounds, 51 60 mm mortar rounds, three cans of 120 mm mortar fuses, 23 boxes of mortar fuses, three mortar sights, 35 82 mm mortar primers, six 60 mm mortar primers, 22 40 mm mortar primers, a 120 mm tube, 130 blasting caps, 30 rifle rocket-propelled grenades, 24 RPG warheads, an RPG sight, two bags of RPG propellant, 12 RPG propellants, four artillery fuses, four anti-personnel mines, two 57 mm rockets, 126 fragmentation grenades, three Russian grenades, 600 yards of detonation cord, a variety of machine guns, seven cell phones, four IED switches, 26 30 mm anti-aircraft rounds and 17 .50-caliber rounds. An explosive ordnance disposal unit destroyed the cache with a controlled detonation.
"This was significant cache find," said Army Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a Multinational Division Baghdad spokesman. "The recovery and destruction of these items does contribute to the overall security of the Iraqi people -- our No. 1 priority."
Iraqi security forces advised by U.S. special operations forces detained three suspected terrorist weapons dealers and three insurgent cell members in separate Feb. 3 operations. The three are suspected of trafficking arms in support of terrorist activities near Ramadi. At the suspects' residence, a weapons cache consisting of six 200-gram blocks of TNT; three 400-gram blocks of TNT; nine electric blasting caps; electric wiring; an RPG launcher; four RPGs; four AK-47 assault rifles; 3,000 rounds of ammunition; 47 weapons magazines; and several sets of body armor was recovered.
Also on Feb. 3, Iraqi special operations and U.S. forces detained three suspected members of an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in Mosul. The cell also is suspected of kidnapping Iraqi civilians.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)