American Forces Press Service
Aug. 14, 2007 - Coalition forces killed four terrorists and detained a Jaysh al-Mahdi militia leader and several of his operatives during a raid in the Sadr City section of Baghdad early this morning. The eight men detained are suspected of coordinating and conducting attacks against coalition forces and moderate Iraqis within the Baghdad area. These militants threaten the stability and security of areas within Baghdad, military officials said. They also are known to have ties to materials being smuggled from Iran.
After searching three buildings, coalition forces confiscated miscellaneous documents, photographs and identification cards. As their vehicles were departing the area, they were attacked with two improvised explosive devices and small-arms fire from multiple locations. Helicopters fired warning shots to allow the ground forces to break away from the extremists. Coalition ground forces also returned fire, killing four armed gunmen. There were no coalition force casualties during the operation.
"Coalition forces continue to gain momentum in attacking the extremist networks that employ improvised explosive devices, especially explosively formed penetrators, which are smuggled from Iran to attack the Iraqi people and the security forces that protect them," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will continue our operations against these extremists to expose, disrupt and destroy the supply networks of lethal materials and aid flowing into Baghdad."
In other operations today:
-- Coalition forces captured a suspected terrorist when he identified himself as the targeted individual to ground forces during a raid west of Baqubah. The man allegedly specializes in weapons facilitation for terrorists in Diyala province, officials said.
-- North of Taji, coalition forces conducted two operations targeting associates of an al Qaeda emir whose network is responsible for most of the bombings in the northern belts around Baghdad. Ground forces detained six suspected terrorists associated with the network's military leader and five suspected terrorists associated with an individual believed to conduct beheadings for the network.
-- Coalition forces also conducted operations against a car-bombing network in western Baghdad, targeting a direct associate of a media and car-bombing cell leader with contacts in several foreign countries. Ground forces detained two suspected terrorists who were assessed to be foreigners.
-- Northwest of Balad, coalition forces detained two individuals believed to be part of the network assisting foreign terrorists in Iraq. The two are allegedly associated with suspects detained in earlier coalition operations. An Iraqi citizen provided important information to the ground forces on the scene.
"We're not waiting for al Qaeda to strike; we're constantly going after these networks," Garver said. "Dismantling the car-bombing network that conducts vicious attacks against the Iraqi people is a top priority for us."
In other news, Iraqi army and coalition forces, working with tips from local citizens, rescued six people while detaining five terrorists in Mosul yesterday. While searching for caches, soldiers from the 2nd Iraqi Army Division and the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment discovered an al Qaeda prison. They freed the hostages, made up of Kurdish and Christian men, and detained a guard. The hostages, bound and blindfolded for over two weeks, were being held for a ransom of $100,000 each.
"This is a great example of the efforts of Iraqi security and coalition forces working together to protect the people of Nineveh province," said Army Col. Stephen Twitty, commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "This wouldn't have been possible without tips from the local community.
"Due to the continued vigilance of our joint forces, these six men will be safely reunited with their families," he continued, "and these terrorists will be forced to take responsibility for their actions as they face Iraqi justice."
While searching an area in Mosul yesterday, coalition forces stopped a suspicious vehicle containing four males who had been circling the area. The men tested positive for signs of handling explosives and were detained. Nearly $4,500 in U.S. currency and identification cards were taken. The four men and prison guard were detained by 2nd Iraqi Army Division soldiers and taken to a nearby coalition facility.
Iraqi and U.S. Special Forces soldiers detained 12 insurgents yesterday in Baghdad. The detainees include eight high-level leaders linked to militia groups that carry out attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces. The suspects include a brigade commander, battalion commander, two company commanders and one leader of an extra-judicial killing cell. In addition, the forces captured several cell members suspected of carrying out killings and IED attacks.
Apache crews from 227th Aviation Regiment reported finding a suspicious stockpile of drums and other materials north of Baghdad on Aug. 12. The area recently was identified as a location used by insurgents for producing homemade explosives. The crews fired on the drums, destroying them. A follow-up reconnaissance the next day revealed that insurgents had gone to the location and removed the remnants of the explosive materials.
"Air cavalry pilots continue to conduct aggressive reconnaissance in support of the Ironhorse (1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division,) Team," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Walach, commander of 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment. "This reconnaissance find shows that insurgents are increasingly taking more risks to move and store (homemade explosive-mixing) solutions in the 1st Cavalry Division's operational area. Air cavalry teams will seek out and destroy insurgent (homemade explosive) sites in order to disrupt the flow of materials used to make (roadside bombs) against coalition forces."
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Corps Iraq and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula news releases.)