Coalition Troops in Iraq Capture 20 Insurgents
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2008 Coalition forces captured 20 suspected terrorists during a series of operations conducted across Iraq today, military officials said.
-- North of Mahmudiya, coalition forces captured an alleged leader involved in the al Qaeda in Iraq network in Baghdad’s southern belt. That network is stunned after recent successes achieved against its leadership, to include the detention of a key facilitator and the network’s deputy leader, officials said. Three more al Qaeda leaders were killed during a recent air strike. Six more suspected terrorists were captured during the operation, which also yielded protective gear, weapons and three military-style assault vests.
-- Coalition forces and Iraqi police in Hillah captured a suspected Iranian-trained “special groups” commander and detained another suspect. The targeted individual is linked to special groups elements in Wasit, Babil and Najaf provinces. He also is tied to terrorist weapons shipments and planning attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces.
-- In Mosul, coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda cell leader believed to be involved in attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces and to be associated with numerous terrorist leaders in the region. The ground force also detained four other suspected terrorists.
-- In eastern Mosul, coalition forces detained an additional six suspects while targeting a foreign-terrorist facilitator also responsible for coordinating attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces
In yesterday’s operations:
-- North of Mosul, coalition forces targeted an associate of a senior foreign-terrorist facilitator with connections to al Qaeda senior leaders. The targeted individual is linked to foreign terrorists and a group of suicide bombers. Coalition forces engaged two men, killing one and wounding the other. The wounded individual was detained, along with two other suspects.
-- A “Sons of Iraq” citizens security group came under small-arms attack at its compound in Sinjar. Several insurgents and five group members were killed in the firefight, as well as two local women and three children. The incident is under investigation.
-- Iraqi and coalition forces found more than 400 pounds of homemade explosives in a large cache while searching houses in eastern Mosul. The cache held a large amount of explosives including pressure-plate bombs, dynamite, blasting caps, an unknown liquid, ball bearings and other materials used to make roadside bombs. “Once again, the insurgents have decided to store large amounts of explosive materials in residential areas, showing a complete disregard to the safety of Iraqi citizens,” said Maj. Gary Dangerfield, a U.S. Army spokesman. The cache was destroyed in place.
-- U.S. soldiers detained a suspect at the Rashid hospital in eastern Baghdad. The suspect allegedly is linked to al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist activities, including recent suicide bombings.
-- A terrorist vehicle bomb detonated in an outdoor marketplace east of Balad, killing 23 civilians and injuring 39 other people. All of the injured have been evacuated to Balad hospital for further treatment.
-- Terrorists attacked a group of Iraqi civilians in Ninevah province, which resulted in the deaths of two men and one child, as well as the injury of two men, two women and two infants. The incident is under investigation.
Also yesterday southeast of Samarra near the Hamrin Mountains, coalition forces targeted an al Qaeda in Iraq explosives facilitator involved in the suicide-bombing network in the Diyala River Valley. Coalition forces followed the suspect’s vehicle and fired multiple warning shots in an attempt to get him to stop, but he did not comply. An individual in the car was seen reaching for a weapon, and perceiving hostile intent, coalition forces engaged. Upon impact, secondary explosions erupted from the vehicle, indicating explosives were inside. The other passenger managed to get out of the vehicle before the explosion and was armed with a machine gun. Coalition forces engaged the perceived threat, killing him.
Once the area was secure, the ground force confirmed the driver was killed during the engagement, and troops recovered several weapons, false documents and al Qaeda in Iraq-related materials.
The ground force also found three Iraqi civilians who had bedded down on the side of the road underneath a blanket near the area of the engagement. Two of them had been hit with stray fire during the operation, killing one and wounding another. The wounded individual was treated on site and transported to a military medical facility for further care. “Coalition forces take every precaution to ensure the safety of innocent civilians and regret the loss of life or injury during operations,” said Army 1st Lt. Michael Street, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.
In Feb. 9 operations:
-- U.S. soldiers captured a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq leader during an operation in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib sector.
-- Iraqi security forces and U.S. special operations troops detained three suspected terrorists during separate raids in Balad and Anah. Two suspected al Qaeda in Iraq members were detained during the Balad operation. Another suspected terrorist was arrested during the operation in Anah, near Rawah.
-- U.S. soldiers arrested a suspected suicide-bomb facilitator during a raid in Baghdad’s Rashid sector. Two women also were detained.
In other news, U.S. soldiers seized an armor-piercing explosively formed penetrator cache during a Feb. 8 operation in Jurf Nadaf, a town southeast of Baghdad, after being tipped off by Iraqi citizens. The cache contained 13 EFPs, one shaped charge, 37 blocks of C4 explosive, 13 blasting caps, a 62 mm mortar tube, and a 40 mm rocket-propelled-grenade launcher.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)