American Forces Press Service
Jan. 17, 2008 - Coalition forces killed two terrorists and detained 17 suspects today during operations targeting al Qaeda networks in northern Iraq. Coalition forces conducted an operation targeting an al Qaeda leader in the western region of Mosul. Reports indicate the wanted individual is a direct associate of numerous terrorist leaders, to include the al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri. The suspect allegedly has a history of terrorist activity that originated in Baghdad and is believed to have been recently appointed to a leadership position in the region after the previous terrorist leader was killed.
As coalition forces arrived in the target area, an armed terrorist ran at their position and repeatedly was directed to stop, but did not comply. The ground force engaged and killed the man. As forces continued to clear the area, they were engaged by small-arms fire north of their position. A supporting aircraft was called to suppress enemy fire, killing the armed terrorist. Three suspected terrorists were also detained during the operation without further incident.
During two coordinated operations in Mosul, coalition forces targeted senior leaders involved in the al Qaeda network in the city.
In one location, coalition forces captured a suspected terrorist who was allegedly operating as a judge of an illegal court system. Reports indicate the suspect is involved in the interrogation of people who have been kidnapped by al Qaeda networks and is responsible for the facilitation and maintenance of weapons caches in the area. The suspect also is allegedly a subordinate of an al Qaeda leader for the Mosul network, who was detained Jan. 6 for his role in terrorist attacks, abductions and executions.
Intelligence reports led coalition forces to a follow-on operation where they detained five suspected terrorists while targeting the al Qaeda senior leader for Mosul.
Coalition forces conducted an operation northeast of Samarra targeting associates of the al Qaeda network in the city. Information gained from previous operations in the area led the ground force to a location where al Qaeda members were believed to be operating. Eight suspected terrorists were detained.
"The results of these operations represent another step forward in disrupting the al Qaeda networks operating in northern Iraq," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "As the terrorists try to re-establish themselves in new locations, we will follow and drive them from their hiding places."
In other operations today, coalition forces captured a suspected criminal-network facilitator to disrupt criminal networks in the Baghdad area.
The suspect reportedly trained criminals to perform attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces. He allegedly facilitated the training of numerous criminals in guerilla warfare. The wanted individual also was reported to be an associate of several other senior-level criminal leaders who were involved in attacks on coalition forces.
"There has been substantial progress in the fight for a stable Iraq, but there is still a great deal of work ahead," said Army Lt. Patrick Evans, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.
In operations yesterday:
-- Coalition forces northeast of Samarra detained four suspected terrorists believed to be associated with individuals detained during operations the day before.
-- Coalition forces northwest of Taji captured a suspect wanted for his ties to the al Qaeda senior leader west of Baghdad. The suspect and his brother reportedly are involved in facilitating foreign terrorists and weapons, as well as participating in attacks against coalition forces. The suspect identified himself and was detained along with two additional suspects. Coalition forces also discovered a vehicle in the target area that was assessed to contain explosive materials, and it was safely destroyed on site.
-- U.S. soldiers detained two suspected terrorists west of Qayyarah while targeting an al Qaeda in Iraq member believed to be a close associate to several senior foreign-terrorist facilitators.
-- Coalition forces targeted a known al Qaeda meeting location in the northeastern Diyala River Valley region. As the ground force arrived, an armed terrorist engaged them from a building rooftop. Coalition forces engaged and killed him. Forces engaged and killed another perceived hostile threat while continuing to clear the buildings. Inside the building, the ground force discovered a weapons cache that included several machine guns and magazines, grenades, a mortar, and military-style assault vests. The troops assessed the building to be structurally unsafe and destroyed it, along with the weapons inside, to prevent further use for terrorist activities. Two suspected terrorists also were detained during the course of operations.
-- Forces captured a suspected terrorist in Baghdad who is reportedly an associate of the al Qaeda car bomb-cell leader in Karkh. The cell leader allegedly was involved in manufacturing a car bomb that was used in an attack in Baghdad on Dec. 20 that resulted in two Iraqi civilians being killed. During the operation, the wanted individual identified himself to the ground force and was detained.
-- Coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda member believed to be associated with senior leaders of the terrorist network in eastern Mosul. Several of the suspect's associates reportedly have direct ties to Masri, the al Qaeda senior leader.
-- While on patrol, Multinational Division Center soldiers attached to 3rd Infantry Division discovered a pressure-plate improvised explosive device on a roadside in Adwaniyah. The device consisted of two 80 mm mortars and three 3-liter bottles of unknown bulk explosives. While investigating the device, the team discovered two additional pressure-plate explosives. Those were linked to a total of four 57 mm mortar rounds. All the explosives and components were detonated in a controlled detonation by an explosives ordnance disposal team.
"We will continue to find the terrorist networks that threaten the security and safety of the Iraqi people and take them apart," said Navy Capt. Vic Beck, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will not allow al Qaeda in Iraq and other extremists to take back the hard fought gains Iraqi and coalition forces have achieved."
In operations earlier this week:
-- Intelligence reports led coalition forces to conduct an operation Jan. 15 east of Samarra targeting alleged associates of an al Qaeda cell leader involved in foreign-terrorist facilitation and carrying out attacks against coalition forces. Three terrorists were killed during the operation, including the wanted individuals.
-- Seven extremists were killed Jan. 15 after they attacked Iraqi security forces in Mosul. Multinational Division North soldiers in support of the Iraqi forces observed the extremists load a vehicle with weapons and then attack the security force with small arms. The U.S. soldiers engaged the vehicle, destroying it and killing an extremist. The coalition forces cordoned off the area and moved in to search a house the remaining individual ran into. There they came under attack by small-arms fire and hand grenades. After an air weapons team engaged the house, soldiers searched the building and recovered the bodies of three more extremists.
-- U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were directed to a weapons cache by a tribal sheik leader in Tarmiya on Jan. 14. Contents of the cache included a car bomb, 44 blocks of TNT, four 122 mm mortars, and seven large containers of homemade explosives. The sheik turned in another large cache Jan. 6 consisting of 100 anti-personnel mines, 20 anti-tank mines, 12 rockets, and 12 155 mm artillery rounds.
In other news, a female suicide bomber detonated a suicide vest at a traffic circle in Khan Bani Saad, Iraq, Jan. 16 killing seven civilians and wounding 15. Soldiers from 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, evacuated the wounded by ground to a medical facility at Joint Combat Outpost Key West and air-evacuated the seriously injured to a coalition medical hospital in Balad.
"This type of attack is very tragic, but it is no surprise that al Qaeda in Iraq chose to attack at this time by using a suicide bomber against civilians," said Army Lt. Col. James Brown, 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team executive officer. "Our recent operations in the area have resulted in the death of several key (al Qaeda in Iraq) leaders and have helped bring reconciliation between the area's tribal leaders. In addition, in conjunction with our Iraqi army partners, we are currently opening up a key route between Baghdad and Baqouba, all of which is putting extreme pressure on (al Qaeda) in the area."
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)