WASHINGTON, July 18, 2006 – Iraqi security forces captured an insurgent-run kidnapping ring and an assassination squad during two separate operations in Baghdad yesterday. In the first incident, Iraqi troops seized two insurgents believed to be involved in a kidnapping ring during an operation conducted near Abu Ghraib. The collared insurgents also are believed to have conducted illegal weapons deals and assisted foreign fighters coming into Iraq, U.S. officials said. Another person of interest was detained.
In another operation conducted near Gazaliah, Iraqi forces captured four insurgents suspected of involvement in area kidnappings and assassinations in the Baghdad area. Two AK-47 rifles and two 9 mm pistols were confiscated in the operation. Coalition advisers assisted the Iraqi forces during both operations. No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured.
Elsewhere, Iraqi security forces nabbed an insurgent leader, who was on a most-wanted list, at a checkpoint near Diwaniyah on July 16. The Iraqi forces were tipped off that a local sheikh suspected of directing local terrorist-run death squads was passing through the area. Two other people traveling with the sheikh were detained and later released.
In other news, Iraqi soldiers and citizens teamed up to foil a kidnapping and a separate bombing attempt that occurred near Baghdad on July 15, according to a Multinational Corps Iraq release. First, soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, stopped a kidnapping attempt while manning a vehicle checkpoint near a marketplace in Taji. A vehicle drove into the market area while its occupants began firing in a bid to kidnap market workers. The Iraqi soldiers foiled the would-be kidnappers, who fled the area on foot.
In a separate incident in Rusafa, a taxi driver found a plastic bag in the back seat of his cab after dropping off two passengers. The driver looked into the bag and found an explosive device with wires attached. The cabman cut the wires and notified police. Iraqi police disarmed the bomb and removed it from the area. No injuries or damage were reported in either incident.
American and Iraqi soldiers operating near Baghdad found a large stash of enemy weaponry and money today. Iraqi soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, and U.S. troops from Multinational Division Baghdad's 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were searching an area that had previously yielded an enemy weapons cache.
They found a new weapons cache with 24 bayonets, an RPK machine gun, a G-3 assault rifle, five hand grenades, two 30 mm rounds, 300 7.62 mm rounds, 200 rounds of assorted ammunition, four parachute flares, a mortar sight, assorted military gear, and 55,000 Iraqi dinars.