American Forces Press Service
Jan. 16, 2008 - Coalition forces killed three terrorists and detained four suspects today during operations targeting al Qaeda networks in central and northern Iraq, military officials reported. During an operation west of Muqdadiyah, coalition forces targeted a known al Qaeda in Iraq meeting location in the northeastern Diyala River Valley region. As the ground force arrived in the target area, an armed terrorist engaged them from a rooftop, and coalition forces engaged and killed him.
Coalition forces killed two more terrorists after encountering the armed men in another building. 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. Coalition forces 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.
In Baghdad, coalition forces captured a suspected terrorist who reportedly is an associate of the al Qaeda in Iraq car bomb cell leader in Karkh. The cell leader allegedly was involved in the manufacture of a car bomb that was used in an attack in Baghdad on Dec. 20 that killed two Iraqi civilians. During the operation, the wanted individual identified himself to the ground force and was detained.
"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 other developments, coalition forces have positively identified a terrorist killed during an operation Dec. 30 near Muqdadiyah as Abu Layla al-Suri.
Suri, also known as Abu Abd al-Rahman, was assessed to be one of the key al Qaeda in Iraq leaders in Diyala province, officials said. He had been intricately involved in the terrorist network operating in the Diyala River Valley region since October 2006 and was closely associated with several al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders.
Some of Suri's direct associates included Abu Maysara, the senior radical religious advisor to al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who was killed by coalition forces Nov. 17, and another Diyala province terrorist leader detained during an operation Dec. 10. In addition, Suri had ties to al Qaeda in Iraq propaganda cell leaders in Baghdad, due to his involvement in terrorist media and propaganda operations in Diyala.
In the operation that killed Suri, the ground force was engaged by enemy fire as it approached the target area, and returned fire in self-defense. Soldiers then saw two armed terrorists emerge from the target building and maneuver in separate directions. The ground force engaged one of the men, killing him.
The other individual moved to a nearby palm grove and supporting aircraft engaged his position. As the ground force approached the armed terrorist's position, the suspect engaged, and the ground force returned fire, killing him.
Once enemy fire ceased, coalition forces found two weapons caches, including 10 rifles, eight grenades, four military-style assault vests with 20 loaded magazines, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and rocket propellant. One of the terrorists, who later was assessed to be Suri, was wearing a suicide vest. The ground force found numerous fake IDs and media materials on site, believed to belong to Suri, including propaganda and recruiting videos showing al Qaeda in Iraq executions and attacks.
The weapons caches and a vehicle allegedly used for terrorist activity safely were destroyed on site. Seven suspected terrorists were detained.
"There is no place in Iraq for dangerous terrorists like al-Suri to hide," Beck said.
(From Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)