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Troops in Iraq Kill Five, Detain 23, Seize Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29, 2008 – Coalition and Iraqi forces killed five suspected terrorists, captured 23 others and uncovered scores of weapons in Iraq over the past three days, military officials said.

In Iraq today:

-- Coalition forces east of Khan Bani Sad captured nine suspected terrorists, including an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq associate with ties to a member of an improvised-explosive-device and suicide-bombing network in Baqouba. Acting in self-defense, troops engaged enemies on site, killing five suspected terrorists. Military officials said an Iraqi child was wounded in the operation.

-- With coalition assistance, Iraqi forces entered a Baghdad mosque, where they detained two suspected terrorists, including an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq weapons facilitator, and seized a cache of potential bomb-making materials. To respect cultural sensitivities, coalition troops did not enter the Muslim holy site, military officials said.

-- Coalition forces conducted a series of raids targeting foreign terrorists and an associate of senior-level terrorist smugglers in northern Iraq. Troops detained four suspected terrorists southeast of Mosul near Salamiyah and two others northwest of Biaj, military officials said.

-- Troops nabbed four suspects, including an alleged terrorist associate, during a raid southeast of Samarra. Reports indicate the primary suspect is associated with the leader of the al Qaeda in Iraq network in Jalam who was detained this month for his involvement in kidnappings and terrorist financing.

North of Samarra yesterday, coalition troops detained one suspected terrorist allegedly associated with IED attacks and providing aid to foreign terrorists.

In the Iraqi capital Feb. 27, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers captured a suspected Iranian-supported special groups network senior leader. After learning the suspect was in Baghdad’s Beida neighborhood, 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers with the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, located and detained him. Military officials said the suspect has played a key role in weapons smuggling through Baghdad and has been involved in kidnapping, torturing and killing Iraqi citizens.

“The network is cornered in Sadr City, and every member of the criminal group who sets foot outside is being captured rapidly,” said Army Maj. Trey Rutherford, executive officer for the unit. “Even more importantly, the special groups element is being recognized by locals for what it is -- a criminal force focused on instilling fear, for monetary profit, in the people they claim to protect.”

Northwest of the Iraqi capital Feb. 27, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers, Iraqi security forces and local Iraqis discovered caches of weapons and ammunition.

Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, discovered a 68 mm mortar round, a French-made rocket and a 68 mm mortar tube during a morning combat patrol.

During a joint combat patrol later that day, Iraqi soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, with soldiers from 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, discovered three 82 mm mortar rounds, three 155 mm artillery rounds and four mortar tubes.

Meanwhile, a local resident arrived at a joint security station and turned in a rocket-propelled grenade, a separate grenade and two IEDs. In separate operations, troops with Iraqi citizens’ assistance, seized scores of munitions.

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

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