American Forces Press Service
Feb. 22, 2008 - Coalition forces killed six terrorists and detained six suspected terrorists yesterday and today during operations to disrupt al Qaeda operating in central and northern Iraq, military officials reported. During an operation east of Khan Bani Sad today, coalition forces targeted an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq associate involved in the suicide-bombing and improvised-explosive-device network that runs from Baqouba to Baghdad and north to Mosul. Reports indicate the suspect is associated with Abu Karrar, the al Qaeda leader also involved in the suicide-bombing network, who was killed during a coalition forces operation Feb. 17.
As the ground force arrived in the area, the troops were engaged by enemy fire from what appeared to be an underground bunker. A fixed-wing aircraft was called to engage the threat, killing three terrorists. A supporting helicopter engaged two more enemy personnel outside the building, killing both. As the ground force continued to clear the area, troops called for occupants of one of the target buildings to come out. One individual refused to comply and moved toward two weapons in the building. Coalition forces engaged and killed the terrorist. The ground force also detained two suspected terrorists and destroyed a vehicle that contained a weapons cache.
Also today, coalition forces detained one suspected terrorist during an operation in Baghdad while targeting associates of an al Qaeda in Iraq network involved in facilitating materials, vehicles and suicide bombers to terrorist groups throughout Baghdad.
During an operation in Mosul yesterday, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists while targeting an alleged associate of a senior-level foreign-terrorist facilitator responsible for attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in the region.
"Iraqi and coalition forces continue to disrupt al Qaeda in Iraq's networks across the country," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "The indiscriminate violence wreaked by al Qaeda's suicide bombers and explosive attacks only strengthens our resolve to find the terrorists and bring them to justice."
Eight Iraqi civilians and one Iraqi army soldier were wounded yesterday in Arab Jabour during an attack by al Qaeda in Iraq operatives. All nine of the wounded, including four women and three children, were evacuated to a nearby joint combat outpost and then by helicopter to Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad for treatment.
Initial reports indicate the al Qaeda operatives seized a home in the village, took the residents hostage and destroyed the home with an explosive device. Al Qaeda then engaged local citizens and Iraqi army soldiers with small-arms fire as they attempted to help the residents of the home.
The Iraqi army had recently cleared al Qaeda in Iraq from Arab Jabour and established a "Sons of Iraq" citizen security group there to maintain security, said Army Maj. Mike Garcia, a spokesman for the 2nd Infantry Division's 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. "Al Qaeda's hold on the population continues to grow weaker every day," he said. "And this is the latest example of their desperate and brutal efforts to seek retribution against Iraqis who attempt to keep (al Qaeda in Iraq) out of their towns and villages."
In other Iraq news, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers detained the commander of an Iranian-trained and -funded "special group" during an operation in Baghdad's Shaab neighborhood Feb. 20. The detainee is suspected of involvement in multiple murders and other criminal activities.
Paratroopers with 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, detained the suspect after a tip on his whereabouts. The suspect is a known special groups leader and financier believed to receive funding from Iran that was earmarked to support the Diyala criminal network, said Army Maj. Cameron Weathers, the 2nd BCT intelligence officer. The money typically is used to pay and equip special groups criminals, procure vehicles and support criminal activities against innocent Iraqis.
In Iraq operations Feb. 19:
-- Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers captured a suspected special groups criminal cell leader in the Rashid district of the Iraqi capital. Soldiers from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, attached to Task Force Dragon, noticed a man fitting the description of a suspected cell leader during a routine patrol of Abu Tshir and detained him without incident. Officials believe the alleged cell leader had taken over day-to-day direction of the criminal cell after its previous leader was arrested by coalition forces in the same area.
-- Iraqi army and Multinational Division Center soldiers discovered a significant weapons cache north of Lutifiyah. Members of 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and 4th Platoon, Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, found a mass of weapons and homemade explosives after a local citizen provided the tip and led the soldiers to the site. The cache contained various improvised explosive device-making materials, multiple explosive rounds, firearms and documentation.
-- Acting on information provided by a Sons of Iraq group, soldiers assigned to Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, confiscated a weapons cache in a small village southeast of Baghdad on Feb. 19. The cache contained 21 122 mm Russian projectiles and three 130 mm Russian projectiles. The munitions were buried about 3 feet deep in a suspect's backyard. The suspect was detained and taken to Combat Outpost Cashe for questioning.
(From Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)
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