American Forces Press Service
Nov. 23, 2007 - Coalition forces in Iraq detained seven suspects today in three coordinated operations targeting al Qaeda's media network southeast of Samarra. One of the targeted buildings is believed to be used as a propaganda production facility and meeting location for senior leaders, officials said.
"These operations are another step on the road to a peaceful Iraq, where innocent civilians can live without fear of terrorist attacks," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Defeating al Qaeda's propaganda networks undermines their fundraising and recruiting."
In operations yesterday in Iraq:
-- Iraqi soldiers and concerned local citizens in Hawr Rajab, repelled an attack by about 15 members of al Qaeda in Iraq, killing two terrorists and wounding an unreported number. Al Qaeda began the attack with small-arms fire and mortars early in the morning, targeting an Iraqi army checkpoint. Small-arms fire continued throughout the morning. Coalition forces supporting the Iraqi army called in helicopter support from 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade. The attack helicopter crews killed two al Qaeda members and wounded two others. Then deployed a U.S. Air Force F-16 dropped a 500-pound bomb on a van that was transporting weapons, destroying it and all of its contents. Though they suffered casualties during the defense of their checkpoints, the Iraqi army and the concerned citizens group stood their ground, officials said. The attackers broke off after being unable to overrun the checkpoints.
-- Coalition forces targeted al Qaeda propaganda cells during operations in Samarra. As the ground force approached the targeted building, they called for the building's occupants to come out, but no one complied. One individual took a defensive position by the door and engaged coalition forces. Responding in self-defense, the ground force returned fire, killing the terrorist. While securing the area, the ground force detained two suspects and found a weapons cache, which was safely destroyed by a coalition air strike.
-- In Hawija, coalition forces captured a wanted individual believed to be the foreign terrorist leader in Arab Jabour, and who allegedly is associated with senior terrorist leaders in Baghdad's southern belt. The wanted individual identified himself to the ground force and was detained, along with one other suspect.
-- In Mosul, coalition forces targeted a northern al Qaeda in Iraq security leader believed to be involved in kidnappings and assassinations. They detained two suspects. Coalition forces also detained four suspects during operations targeting associates of a former al Qaeda media leader near Khan Bani Sad.
-- An Iraqi emergency response unit, advised by U.S. Special Forces, detained five suspected extremists during an early morning operation in Daghgharah. The operation, conducted north of Diwaniyah, targeted an extremist cell reportedly involved in improvised-explosive-device attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in Diwaniyah and Hillah. This cell also is believed to gather intelligence for attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces and to transport and store weapons and IEDs, officials said. The capture supported the 8th Iraqi Army Division's Operation Lion Pounce, an ongoing operation to disrupt extremist groups operating in Diwaniyah and the surrounding region. No Iraqi or U.S. forces were injured during the operation.
In operations Nov. 21:
-- Soldiers of the 3rd Iraqi Army Division uncovered a large weapons cache during a routine patrol northwest of Tal Afar. The cache included 4,200 pounds of homemade explosives, four sets of Iraqi military uniforms, 12 82 mm mortar rounds and 10 hand grenades.
-- Soldiers of the 5th Iraqi Army Division and U.S. forces came under sniper fire while attempting to clear terrorists from villages near Abu Khamis. Iraqi and U.S. forces responded to the attack, killing two terrorists. In the course of the operation, three Iraqi soldiers were injured.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)