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Iraqi Forces Arrest Suspects, Prevent Attacks

American Forces Press Service

MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 22, 2010 – Iraqi Security Forces arrested nine suspected terrorists today during two joint operations targeting suspected al-Qaida members in northern Iraq.

An additional suspect was killed during one of the operations.

Iraqi forces executed both operations with court-issued warrants.

In northwestern Mosul, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched a residential building for a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq member wanted for illegally bringing hundreds of foreign fighters into Iraq. In addition, the warranted AQI member is believed to have distributed weapons and money to other terrorist-group members.

Following preliminary questioning and examination of evidence at the scene, the security team arrested a suspected criminal accomplice of the wanted man. As the team conducted further examination of the scene, the suspect freed himself from his restraints and attacked his guard. In self-defense, the security team member shot and killed the suspected terrorist.

In a separate operation in Sharqat, about 60 miles west of Kirkuk, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched several residential buildings for an AQI leader believed involved in improvised explosive device attacks and trafficking foreign fighters into Iraq.

Evidence collected at the scene resulted in the arrest of nine suspected criminal accomplices of the wanted man.

In other operations in Iraq, members of the 2nd Iraqi Army Division detected and responded to three car bombs within 48 hours before the devices were able to kill civilians in Mosul, Iraq, military officials reported.

While guarding a Jan. 20, Iraqi soldiers perceived a threat from a bus approaching one of their guard posts and tried to stop the driver. He didn't respond, so the soldiers engaged the vehicle with disabling fire before it reached its destination. A massive explosion erupted from the vehicle, injuring 10 civilians and four of the Iraqi soldiers nearby, but no one was killed.

A U.S. explosive ordnance team investigated the blast crater and determined that about 500 pounds of explosives were on the bus.

Also on Jan. 20, a 2nd Iraqi Army Division patrol saw a truck parked alongside the road in a Mosul neighborhood. Sheet metal welded over the truck’s bed drew the patrol’s attention. The Iraqi troops reported the truck to their superiors, and a combined U.S. and Iraqi explosives ordnance disposal team was called on the scene. The Iraqi team pulled 100 pounds of cell-phone-initiated explosives out of the vehicle.

Yesterday, a truck driver who was stopped at a checkpoint near an Iraqi army headquarters tried to detonate a bomb in his vehicle. The bomb only partially exploded.

The forces shot at the driver, and he was forced to run from his truck; unable to complete his suicide mission.

The man ran into a nearby house and threw two grenades at soldiers in close pursuit, injuring an Iraqi army lieutenant. The soldiers surrounded the house and methodically started clearing the building. During the operation, the would-be suicide bomber was shot and killed during an exchange of gunfire at close range.

Troops inspecting the vehicle found seven 55-gallon drums of ammonium nitrate. Soldiers removed the vehicle from the town, and it was detonated.

(From a U.S. Forces Iraq news release.)

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