WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2006 – Iraqi army and Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers set a cordon around an Iraqi Ministry of Health complex at about 2:30 a.m. yesterday to search for kidnapped Iraqi citizens. Coalition forces had received a tip about two hours earlier that 15 criminals wearing Iraqi army uniforms kidnapped six Iraqi citizens from a local hospital and took the kidnapped victims to the Ministry of Health.
Iraqi soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and a coalition forces military transition team, accompanied by the Iraqi citizen who called in the tip, cordoned off the ministry to search for the victims. No kidnap victims were found, but five people were detained for further questioning based on their positive identification by the tipster. Iraqi security forces are continuing the investigation, U.S. officials said.
In other news, Iraqi security forces supported by Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers continued their combined effort yesterday in western Baghdad's Shula and Ameriyah neighborhoods in support of Operation Together Forward. Soldiers of the 1st and 5th Brigades of the 6th Iraqi Army Division, and policemen from 5th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National Police Division, led the combined operations on simultaneous objectives. U.S. soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, and 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team supported them.
The combined operations aim to reduce murders, kidnappings, assassinations, terrorism and sectarian violence in northwestern Baghdad and to reinforce the Iraqi government's control in the city. Iraqi soldiers and U.S. soldiers from 2nd BCT yesterday began to search about 4,000 homes and businesses in the Ameriyah neighborhood as part of the operation. "Security in Baghdad is the top priority for everyone working in Operation Together Forward. We continue to work very closely with Iraqi security forces in a major effort to clear this area of terrorists and death squads," U.S. Army Colonel Robert Scurlock, commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, said. "Iraqi security forces and coalition forces are working side by side every day to increase security in Baghdad and help the Iraqi people return to a more normal domestic life."
Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers from 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team began a simultaneous operation to search homes and businesses in the Shula neighborhood.