American Forces Press Service
July 26, 2007 - Iraqi and coalition forces netted 39 suspects in Iraq over the past two days, and military officials strongly condemned an attack that killed at least 50 Iraqi soccer celebrants in Baghdad. During two synchronized raids today near Tarmiyah, coalition forces captured a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq cell leader allegedly responsible for coordinating car-bomb attacks. Ground forces also destroyed a vehicle used to transport terrorist weapons and personnel and detained 18 other individuals allegedly linked to the car-bomb cell.
Coalition forces also nabbed 11 suspects west of Taji today during a raid targeting a senior al Qaeda in Iraq figure. The detainee is suspected of coordinating car-bomb and suicide-bomb operations, as well as attacks on coalition forces.
In Mosul today, coalition forces captured two suspects. One detainee, allegedly the primary weapons facilitator for al Qaeda in Iraq in the Mosul area, had risen in the network's ranks as coalition forces worked to dismantle terrorist leadership there. When troops captured the other suspect, they discovered fake documents and materials for counterfeiting identification.
"Al Qaeda in Iraq is on the run and placing less qualified operatives into leadership positions to make up for vacancies left when coalition forces cripple their network," said Army Maj. Marc Young, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will continue our operations to keep pressure on the terrorists and diminish their ability to attack the people of Iraq."
Multinational Force Iraq officials have released a statement condemning attacks in Baghdad yesterday that killed at least 50 Iraqis as they celebrated a soccer victory that advances the nation to the Asian Cup final for the first time.
"This barbarism is a direct attack on the national unity of Iraq and exposes these terrorists for what they really are," officials said. "The men and women of Multinational Force Iraq send our thoughts and prayers to the victims' families and the injured. The coalition force strongly condemns this malicious crime."
The attack reflects the inhuman, indiscriminate and brutal nature of the enemy, the statement read.
"These criminals want to see the people of Iraq fail," officials said. "We mourn those lost, while we reaffirm our continued commitment to support the Iraqi people."
In other news from Iraq, Iraqi special operations forces and U.S. Special Forces advisors apprehended an al Qaeda in Iraq cell leader yesterday in southern Baghdad.
Iraqi troops secured the targeted building and questioned occupants on site. Forces apprehended the individual who identified himself as the primary suspect and captured another suspicious individual present during the operation.
The primary suspect is believed to command an al Qaeda in Iraq cell that operates in the Jamia area. His cell allegedly is responsible for conducting car-bomb attacks against Iraqi citizens intended to stimulate sectarian violence. No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured in the operation.
Iraqi security forces and U.S. Special Forces advisors detained a cell leader of the rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi militia yesterday in southwestern Baghdad.
Iraqi forces detained the suspect without incident, and nabbed four other suspicious individuals present during the operation, military officials said.
The primary suspect is believed to command a Jaysh al-Mahdi militia cell that allegedly is responsible for killing more than 150 Sunni Arab Iraqis in death-squad fashion. The detainees are being detained for questioning. No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured in the operation.
(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq, Multinational Force Iraq and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula news releases.)