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Iraqis Arrest 3, Seize Illegal Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 2, 2010 – Iraqi security forces working with U.S. advisors arrested three terrorism suspects, and a tip led to discovery of an enemy weapons stockpile in recent operations in Iraq.

Iraqi forces arrested two suspected terrorists today during a combined operation conducted in western Baghdad targeting the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group to hinder planned attacks preceding the country's upcoming election.

Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched a building for the suspected leader of an al-Qaida in Iraq group believed to be responsible for conducting high-profile attacks and robberies in Baghdad. Following preliminary questioning and examination of the evidence at the scene, Iraqi forces arrested two suspected criminal associates of the wanted man.

In Iraq’s Salahuddin province Feb. 28, Iraqi forces with U.S. advisors arrested a suspected cell leader of the Islamic State of Iraq terrorist group in Beiji.

Iraqi officials believe the suspect is responsible for financing and supporting terrorist operations and housing foreign fighters in the province.

Intelligence reports also indicate the individual allegedly is connected to an assassination and kidnapping cell, and that he personally beheaded several victims, officials said. An Iraqi court issued a warrant for the suspect's arrest.

In Tarmiyah on Feb. 26, information from a concerned Iraqi civilian led to Iraqi forces discovering four enemy weapons caches.

Acting on a tip about possible homemade explosives being stored for use during the March 7 elections, Iraqi forces coordinated with U.S. forces in searching for possible caches in the area. The tip proved accurate when Iraqi forces located four separate caches yielding multiple types of weapons. The first cache uncovered 10 bags of homemade explosives. Each bag contained 50 to 70 pounds of explosives with detonation cords attached.

Shortly after removing the explosives from the first cache, the Iraqi forces discovered a second cache that included three barrels with eight 57 mm mortars inside and an additional 38 mortars underneath. Also found were 25 30 mm grenades, a 75 mm artillery round, five 90 mm artillery rounds, more than 50 artillery and rocket base caps and nine top halves of 120 mm shells.

After removing the contents of the second cache, Iraqi forces continued the search, finding a third cache containing two rocket-propelled grenade launchers. A 57 mm mortar tube with the base plate was found at a fourth site.

Iraqi security forces collected all of the contents from the searches and took them to a secure area, where an explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed them.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Iraq news releases.)

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