Terrorists Launch Indirect-Fire Attacks in Baghdad
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 27, 2008 Terrorists launched 11 indirect-fire attacks against civilians, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces in Baghdad today.
Five indirect-fire attacks struck in the vicinity of the International Zone, killing one civilian and wounding 14. Three indirect-fire attacks struck two U.S. forward operating bases and one joint security station east of the Tigris River, injuring four U.S. soldiers.
Five mortar rounds struck two joint security stations and a “Sons of Iraq” citizen security group checkpoint in West Rashid, wounding three Iraqi security volunteers.
“These rogue elements are haphazardly firing rockets and mortars, killing and injuring innocent Iraqi and governmental civilians,” said Army Col. Allen Batschelet, chief of staff of Multinational Division Baghdad. “(Iraqi security forces) and coalition forces are taking steps to reduce these attacks and pursue those responsible.”
Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers engaged and killed two terrorists spotting for the indirect-fire attacks.
Terrorists also staged several attacks around Iraq yesterday, firing 16 rockets into the International Zone in Baghdad and targeting members of the Sons of Iraq in Tikrit and Salahuddin.
The 16 rockets were fired into the International Zone from surrounding Baghdad districts in four separate attacks during the morning and early afternoon.
At about 5:30 a.m., five 107 mm rockets hit the International Zone; four more 107 mm rockets struck at about 9:15 a.m.; three 107 mm rockets were in the third attack; and four 107 mm rockets struck at about 2:50 p.m. One coalition force soldier, two U.S. civilians, and one Iraqi army soldier were wounded in the attack. Several structures and one vehicle also were damaged.
In Salahuddin, two Sons of Iraq were murdered, and a woman and child were injured in an attack by al Qaeda in Iraq. The two men killed were father and son and confirmed members of the Sons of Iraq in Samarra. The woman and child were transported to a coalition forces hospital for treatment.
In Tikrit, a car bomb detonated, injuring seven Sons of Iraq and two Iraqi citizens. The injured were evacuated to a local Iraqi medical facility for treatment.
"This incident is just another example of the desperation (al Qaeda in Iraq) is showing," said Army Maj. Dan Meyers, a spokesman for Multinational Division North. "Acts of intimidation and cowardice such as these demonstrate the lack of regard for innocent civilian life."
In separate operations March 25 and yesterday, Iraqi special operations forces advised by U.S. Special Forces soldiers detained eight suspects.
In Baghdad, Iraqi Special Forces detained one suspected al Qaeda member who helped create a suicide network associated with attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in the Baghdad area. The suspect also recently formed a criminal group to conduct attacks against coalition forces in Tahrir, southeast of Baghdad. Two additional suspects were detained in the operation and are being held for further questioning.
In Basra, Iraqi special forces troops detained a suspected criminal who is reported to be an illegal weapons dealer in the area. The suspect is believed to be smuggling and selling massive amounts of weapons to Iranian-backed “special groups” and criminal elements that attack Iraqi and coalition forces. Four other suspects were detained and are being held for questioning.
In other developments, coalition forces conducted operations throughout Iraq on March 25 and yesterday, targeting suspected terrorists who are believed to be associated with al Qaeda in Iraq senior leadership and others suspected of organizing suicide bombings.
In Tikrit, intelligence sources led coalition forces to a building, where they called for the occupants to come out. When the occupants did not comply, the ground force approached the building and came under a heavy small-arms attack. Coalition forces called in supporting aircraft to suppress the fire. Numerous large secondary explosions came from the building, indicating stored weapons or explosives.
During the engagement, multiple terrorists exited the building and ran into adjacent buildings. Coalition forces called for civilians to exit the buildings, and women and children who complied were moved to a safe area. It was later determined other civilians remained in the building.
Five terrorists, one Iraqi man, three Iraqi women and three Iraqi children were killed. Six Iraqi women, five Iraqi children and one Iraqi man were injured. The injured were treated on scene by coalition medical professionals, and all but one man were transported to a coalition medical facility for further treatment. It is uncertain whether the casualties came from coalition or terrorist fire.
"These terrorists have a complete disregard for humanity and constantly place innocent Iraqis in harm's way, as they did here by invading civilian homes and continuing to engage coalition forces, using the homes for cover and concealment," said Navy Capt. Vic Beck, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.
In the northern part of the country, intelligence reports led coalition forces to Mosul, where they captured an alleged terrorist suspected to be a suicide bomb cell leader with strong ties to terrorists in that area. He is believed to have a role in recent suicide attacks in Mosul. Coalition forces also detained two other suspected terrorists in that operation.
West of Samarra yesterday, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists during an operation targeting associates of al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders.
"Al Qaeda in Iraq is an adaptive, barbaric enemy that will use any means possible to create violence," Beck said. "Despite their calls for violence, Iraqis continue to reject the terrorists' Taliban-like ideology and are working with Iraqi and coalition forces for a safe and secure Iraq."
In Iraq operations March 25:
-- Multinational Division Baghdad attack helicopter crews destroyed two enemy positions in separate attacks in Baghdad. No coalition forces or Iraqi citizens were injured as a result of the two attacks.
-- Iraqi security forces responded to enemy gun fire in the city of Kut, where fighting broke out in areas known as criminal strongholds several hours after a curfew was imposed by Iraqi forces.
-- A combined Iraqi police and Iraqi army force stopped an organized attack in Hillah. A military-style force, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, attacked coalition and Iraqi forces with RPGs. Iraqi army and police forces counterattacked, secured major intersections, and engaged the militants over the course of several hours, forcing them to retreat to a mosque.
-- Coalition soldiers found and destroyed four suspected car bombs in the southern Diyala river valley during Operation Viking Expedition. As part of the operation, air weapon team helicopters engaged three suspicious vehicles, destroying them with Hellfire missiles. After a search of the area, a bunker was found containing another vehicle, as well as a small cache nearby. The bunker and cache were destroyed by two bombs dropped by close-air support planes.
In operations March 24 and 25, Iraqi security forces detained 15 suspects and coalition forces found two weapons caches.
In Baghdad, Iraqi special operations forces detained a suspected criminal cell leader reported to be responsible for improvised explosive device cell members who have attacked Iraqi and coalition forces in the Baghdad area. Three additional suspected cell members were also detained.
In Samarra, Iraqi National Police detained a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq military commander, who is reported to lead 25 fighters in the greater Samarra area. He also is believed to have been involved in organizing small-arms fire, IED and car-bomb attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces. Ten additional suspects are being held for further questioning.
Sons of Iraq members and an informant provided information to coalition force soldiers that led to two weapons caches in the Shaka 3 region of Iraq. The first cache, discovered March 24, consisted of 38 rifle grenades, 64 OG-15P grenades, 27 OG-9 rockets, 21 PG-9 rockets, two OG-7 rockets and an anti-tank mine. The second cache was discovered the following day based on a tip from an informant and contained 400 heavy machine gun rounds.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)