Coalition Forces Capture Terrorist; 450 Detainees Released
WASHINGTON, June 28, 2006 – Coalition forces today captured an al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist in a raid at his home, one day after the Iraqi government and the coalition released 450 detainees from internment facilities, military officials reported. A noncombatant who coalition troops perceived as an imminent threat was killed. The targeted terrorist had ties to senior al Qaeda leaders throughout the region, officials said. The ground forces secured his house and detained him without incident. At the home, troops found small-arms weapons, hidden ammunition, and $4,000 in sequentially numbered U.S. $100 bills.
While securing the target, officials said, coalition forces noticed an individual acting suspiciously at a nearby house. They assessed him as an imminent threat, engaged and killed him. He was later determined to be a non-combatant. Several women and children were present at the raid sites. None were harmed, officials said, and all were returned to their homes once the troops ensured the area was secure.
"Coalition forces take every precaution to mitigate risks to civilians while in pursuit of terrorists, and deeply regret any injury or death to non-combatants," a Multinational Force Iraq statement issued after the incident said. In other news, in what military officials called "the spirit of unity and reconciliation," the Iraqi government and Multinational Force Iraq released about 450 security detainees yesterday from coalition-run theater internment facilities.
Iraq's national security adviser, Muwafaq al-Rubai, addressed the detainees at the Abu Ghraib theater internment facility and asked them to return to their jobs and share in the wealth of their country. He said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has declared a reconciliation program for all those who are not tied to terrorism, and that there is no room for terrorists in Iraq.
This release is part of a plan to release 2,500 security detainees in June, being accomplished through a series of 200- to 500-person releases throughout the month.
The Iraqi government has approved the release of those not guilty of serious, violent crimes such as bombing, torture, kidnapping and murder. The detainees must renounce violence and pledge to be good citizens of Iraq. The decision to release is an acknowledgment by the government and coalition military leaders of the importance of progress toward democratic governance and the rule of law in a new Iraq, officials said.