American Forces Press Service
May 7, 2007 – Coalition and Iraqi forces detained 24 suspected terrorists in operations in Iraq yesterday and today, military officials reported. Coalition forces detained 15 suspected terrorists today during raids around the country targeting al Qaeda in Iraq and its senior leaders.
-- While targeting al Qaeda in Hillah, coalition forces conducted a raid and detained nine suspected terrorists, including one individual believed to be a leader in the network.
-- Coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists in an operation east of Balad, where they were targeting al Qaeda's senior leadership.
-- In Anbar province, coalition forces detained three individuals with suspected ties to al Qaeda senior leadership during two separate raids west of Taji.
-- A suspected terrorist was detained when coalition forces raided an area north of Fallujah. The individual is believed to be in direct contact with senior al Qaeda leaders.
"Our targets continue to be those who network together to organize and execute attacks against innocent Iraqis," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.
In another operation, Iraqi special operations forces captured a suspected terrorist cell leader near Balad Air Base yesterday. The suspect is accused of financing al Qaeda members for terrorist activities and kidnapping operations. Iraqi special operations forces initiated the raid with coalition forces present as advisors. Eight other individuals present during the operation also were detained.
Iraqi forces also confiscated a large amount of U.S. and Iraqi currency, cell phones and al Qaeda propaganda. Iraqi forces moved to detain these individuals acting on intelligence gathered from local citizens. This action was aimed at disrupting the ability of the suspected terrorists to kidnap and extort innocent civilians to finance the construction of improvised explosive devices, which are used against Iraqi and coalition forces, officials said.
In other news from Iraq, officials announced today that a senior commander in Multinational Division Baghdad was wounded in eastern Baghdad by small-arms fire May 3.
Col. B.D. Farris, commander of the 2nd "Falcon" Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, was conducting a site survey of temporary concrete barrier emplacements in the area when a single bullet hit him. Farris was treated and evacuated. He was reported to be in stable condition.
"He's a great leader," Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, multinational Division Baghdad commander, said of Farris and the job his brigade has done in Baghdad's Adhamiyah district.
"Our formations are filled with great leaders," Fil continued. "As unfortunate as this event is, we train our soldiers to step up when needed. Col. John G. Castles II will take on temporary command of the Falcon Brigade. Commanding in a combat zone is a monumental responsibility, but I have full confidence in the capability and commitment of John to lead his paratroopers in the wake of this event."
Castles is going to Baghdad from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga.
Fil said Castles and other senior leaders of the division are focused on securing the people of Baghdad.
"Our commitment to the safety and security of the Iraqi people in Baghdad remains our paramount concern," Fil said. "We remain committed to this mission. This attack only strengthens our resolve to eliminate extremist elements from the Iraqi capital."
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)
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