WASHINGTON, July 26, 2006 – U.S. soldiers with Multinational Division Baghdad captured five members of a "death squad" in Iraq today. The soldiers, from 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, captured the terrorists during a cordon-and-search operation in Mahmudiyah around 1:40 a.m. Officials said one of the detainees is a leader of the group.
In a separate incident, soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, detained a wanted terrorist in southwestern Baghdad around 2:30 a.m. today during a dismounted cordon-and-search mission. The terrorist was discovered after soldiers entered a house in which they believed the target was hiding. They also detained another suspect in the house. Soldiers then moved to the house next door, where they detained two more wanted suspects. No injuries or damage to MNDB personnel or equipment were reported.
Elsewhere, soldiers from Multinational Division Baghdad's Troop A, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, seized weapons in southeastern Baghdad around 5 a.m. today. While acting on a tip from an Iraqi citizen, soldiers searched a cement factory and found a sniper rifle, an AK-47 rifle, a PKC machine gun, two hand grenades, a pair of military-style binoculars, and 379 rounds of ammunition. The soldiers also detained four suspected terrorists.
In other news from Iraq, U.S. military officials announced today that U.S. Marines and Iraqi soldiers rescued three hostages July 23. Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5's, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, and soldiers from 2nd and 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, rescued the three Iraqi hostages in an "intelligence-driven" operation, officials said. The three were personal assistants and bodyguards to Dr. Rafa Hayid Chiad Al-Isaw, an Iraqi government official in Baghdad.
"We are extremely pleased we were able to recover these three Iraqi citizens," Marine Colonel Larry D. Nicholson, the Marine unit's commander, said. "The safety of Iraqi citizens to move freely about their own country without fear is a priority for U.S and Iraqi forces, and we will continue to assist the Iraqi army and Iraqi police in ensuring their citizens have a future that is free of terrorism."
The three had been held captive by al Qaeda insurgents in a "spiderhole" complex for 27 days, after being captured west of Zaidon, a rural area south of Fallujah. The hostages were beaten with electrical cords, bitten and threatened with their lives at gunpoint by their captors. They were rescued near Fuhaylat, southwest of Fallujah, and treated by coalition medical personnel.
Combined forces also recovered a significant weapons cache, including a fully assembled car bomb, nearby. Marines also recovered improvised explosive devices and IED-making material, mortar tubes and rounds, artillery rounds, machine guns, bulk explosives, anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, AK-47 assault rifles, small-arms ammunition, and video cameras.