Iraqi, Coalition Soldiers Take Weapons Off Streets
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2008 Iraqi and coalition soldiers seized several weapons caches and captured a suspected criminal in operations throughout Iraq yesterday and today, military officials reported.
Soldiers serving with the 4th Infantry Division’s Company C, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, discovered seven 60 mm mortars inside a bag in a courtyard in Baghdad’s West Rashid district today.
Soldiers serving with the 25th Infantry Division’s Company B, 1st Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, found a 64 mm rocket-propelled grenade launcher north of Baghdad yesterday.
Iraqi soldiers patrolling in Baghdad’s Kadamiyah district yesterday found three hand grenades and an Iranian 81 mm high explosive mortar round.
A tip led soldiers serving with the 101st Airborne Division’s Company D, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, to a cache. The munitions included 20 explosive devices of various sizes designed to penetrate armor-hulled vehicles, a shaped charge, a machine gun, a Mauser rifle, two Dragonov sniper rifles, 18 Iranian manufactured RPG warheads and two RPG launchers.
Also yesterday, soldiers from Company D, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, detained a suspected Iranian-backed militia member in the Aamel community of Baghdad. The detainee is accused of attacks against coalition forces and Sunnis in the Aamel community.
In operations Sept. 14, soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s Company A, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, detained a suspected Iranian-backed militia member in the Shurta community. The detainee is accused of sectarian violence and emplacing bombs that target armored vehicles in the Aamel community, officials said.
Also Sept. 14, a local “Sons of Iraq” citizen security group leader tipped off Iraqi National Police about the location of two men known to use al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist tactics living in the Masafee community. The suspects were said to be responsible for the sniper attacks in August that claimed the life of a soldier from the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. Conducting a target raid based on the information provided, the police detained the two men and took them to a joint security station for further processing.
In other developments, the coalition has identified one terrorist who was killed and one suspected terrorist who was captured as key players in the al-Qaida in Iraq network in northeastern Iraq.
Hadi Muhammad Husayn Darwish, also known as Abu Jassim, was killed Sept. 9 during an operation near Kirkuk. Coalition forces said Abu Jassim was the overall al-Qaida in Iraq leader of Tamim province. Using information from one of Abu Jassim's alleged associates already in Iraqi custody, Iraqi and coalition forces established a vehicle checkpoint to intercept the terrorist. The force identified Abu Jassim and realized he was wearing a suicide vest. As the Iraqi policeman who discovered the vest backed away from the vehicle and attempted to engage the terrorist in self-defense, Abu Jassim detonated his explosives, killing only himself.
Abu Jassim oversaw all al-Qaida in Iraq operations in Tamim province, which includes the city of Kirkuk, officials said, and was responsible for widespread violence across Tamim province, including bombings, assassinations and kidnappings. His group was financed through extortion, ransoms from kidnappings ransoms and theft from local merchants. He was considered to be one of the most senior and key "emirs" within the al-Qaida network and was closely connected to senior leaders, officials said.
Coalition forces detained another suspected provincial "emir," Jamal Muhammad Alwan Nafi, during a daytime operation Sept. 2 in Beiji. A letter seized in an operation Dec. 30, believed to be written by al-Qaida leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri, identified Nafi, also known as Abu Anas, as the al-Qaida "emir" of Diyala province, and revealed his ties to senior leaders.
As the Diyala "emir," Abu Anas is suspected of overseeing all al-Qaida activity in the province, officials said. Because his area of responsibility was so large and active, ranging from the southern portion of Diyala – known for smuggling of weapons and fighters to support suicide attacks in Baghdad - to the Hamrin Mountains, Abu Anas is suspected of being one of the primary al-Qaida in Iraq leaders. Terrorist elements from his network have employed bombings, rigged booby-trapped houses, attempted to incite sectarian violence and have used women as suicide bombers, officials said.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)