WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2006 – Iraqi army soldiers freed a man who was being held and tortured by members of an illegal armed group in Diwaniyah, Iraq, during a raid today, U.S. military officials said. The captive had been beaten, tortured and bound. He said he had been held for the past three days. He also stated that the four people abusing him fled just prior to the arrival of Iraqi assault forces. The man was immediately treated by medical personnel and then evacuated, officials said.
The four suspects are thought to be members of a group engaged in sectarian violence against Iraqi citizens and the authority of the Iraqi government. Their illegal actions include "death squad" activities, emplacing of makeshift bombs in the Diwaniyah area, and coordinating attacks against Iraqi army and police forces.
A small weapons cache, which included a mortar aiming sight and makeshift-bomb material, was found at the site.
In other new from Iraq, two men were detained and a small weapons cache was found after coalition forces spotted six men fleeing after a mortar attack on civilians south of Baqubah Sept 12.
After two mortar rounds impacted near the village, an unmanned aerial vehicle observed the men fleeing the in a gray sedan at a high rate of speed. With the help of the UAV, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Battalion pursued the suspected mortar team.
The suspects attempted to hide the car in a palm grove then fled on foot in opposite directions. Upon arrival at the scene, coalition forces detained two of the men who had jumped into an irrigation canal. The sedan was found along with a mortar system and rifle magazines.
The detainees, the vehicle, and the cache were transported to Forward Operating Base Warhorse, where the detainees are being held for questioning, officials said.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces and U.S. Marines discovered an enemy weapons cache yesterday while conducting a joint patrol in the Qaim region of Iraq's Anbar province. The cache consisted of machinegun and rifle ammunition, explosive rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, and makeshift bomb material.
In addition, Iraqi and U.S. security forces detained several insurgent suspects and had multiple engagements with insurgent forces throughout Anbar province yesterday.
In the Haditha region, insurgents used a school building to launch a rocket-propelled-grenade and small-arms-fire attack on a U.S. Marine vehicle-mounted patrol.
Also, Iraqi army soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, found and disabled a large car bomb yesterday in central Baghdad.
No Iraqi or coalition forces personnel were killed in any of these actions.
As of Sept. 12, Iraqi security forces and Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers had cleared about 53,000 buildings, 50 mosques and 45 neighborhood, detained more than 100 terrorist suspects, seized 1,200 illegal weapons, registered over 700 weapons of local citizens and found 31 weapons caches, officials said.
The combined forces also have replaced more than 1,300 doors, 47 windows and 1,466 locks damaged during clearing operations and have removed more than 104,000 cubic meters of trash from the streets of Baghdad, officials said.