American Forces Press Service
Aug. 29, 2007 - Coalition forces killed two terrorists and detained 22 suspected terrorists today during operations targeting senior al Qaeda leaders in central and northern Iraq.
-- South of Baghdad, coalition forces killed two terrorists while targeting a Syrian-based explosives expert who facilitates the movement of foreign terrorists in Iraq and is tied to several senior leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq.
-- In three related raids around Tarmiyah today, coalition forces captured the al Qaeda emir of the northern belt around Baghdad and six of his associates.
-- In two raids in the northern Tigris River Valley, coalition forces captured a suspected close associate of a regional terrorist emir and 14 additional suspects for alleged ties to al Qaeda networks in Bayji and Mosul.
"Al Qaeda in Iraq's leaders are on the run, and we're continuing to put pressure on them," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Our operations are targeting al Qaeda in Iraq from the top, middle and bottom. There is no safe haven for terrorists here."
In operations yesterday:
-- Iraqi army scouts with U.S. Special Forces advisors detained three suspected al Qaeda leaders, including the al Qaeda emir for operations in Samarra, during an operation in Tikrit. Intelligence indicates the three are linked to an attack on coalition forces Aug. 26 in Samarra that killed two coalition soldiers and two innocent civilians. One of the detainees is reportedly an al Qaeda military coordinator for operations around Samarra, while another detainee is believed to be a local facilitator for al Qaeda operations in Tikrit.
-- Soldiers from Multinational Division Baghdad and Iraqi security forces captured four suspected insurgents and recovered a small weapons cache in the Karadah district of eastern Baghdad. The troops uncovered two AK-47 assault rifles, one spotting scope, and three eye pieces in the operation.
In a separate operation yesterday, coalition forces detained a group of 15 individuals traveling together in four vehicles in Baghdad. The group included seven Iraqis and eight Iranian nationals. Forces searched the vehicles as the group passed through a checkpoint and confiscated an AK-47 rifle and two 9 mm pistols in the possession of the Iraqis in the group. The Iraqis serving as a protective detail had identification but no weapons permits and also had Iranian money.
The individuals were allowed to proceed and went into a local hotel. Coalition forces followed shortly after, searched their rooms, and confiscated a laptop computer, cell phones, and a briefcase full of Iranian and U.S. money. The group was taken to a coalition facility for questioning. The Iranian nationals had passports. It was later determined that two of the Iranian individuals were carrying diplomatic credentials. Coalition troops released the Iranian nationals to Iraqi officials.
In other operations this week:
-- Iraqi special operations forces with U.S. Special Forces advisors detained a suspected battalion commander of the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia and one suspected insurgent during an intelligence-driven operation in Baghdad on Aug. 27. The suspected Shiia extremist operates in Qhadirah, an area in Baghdad. Reports indicate he directs a group that targets Iraqi citizens. The alleged leader also maintains connections to insurgents in the Hayani area, Baghdad and Basrah. Intelligence indicates the targeted individual's group also is responsible for emplacing explosively formed penetrators in Sadr City targeting Iraqi and coalition forces, officials said.
-- Iraqi police received tips from a local citizen that thwarted insurgent efforts to detonate two car bombs targeting security forces and innocent citizens in Kirkuk on Aug. 26. Police discovered one of the vehicles while responding to a separate attack on a patrol, and a second vehicle was discovered after a concerned citizen phoned in a suspicious truck in the neighborhood. Both police and an Iraqi explosive ordnance team responded and confirmed the presence of a car bomb and safely detonated it.
"We've seen a growing capability from the police to coordinate among their own units to deal with these threats," said Army Capt. Sean Lucas, commander of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment. "The cooperation between the Iraqi police, (emergency services unit), and (explosive ordnance detachment) demonstrates not only a concern for the security of the people, but their ability to provide that security."
(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq, Multinational Force Iraq and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula news releases.)