American Forces Press Service
Feb. 17, 2008 - Coalition forces killed two terrorists and captured 24 suspects today during operations to disrupt al Qaeda networks operating in central and northern Iraq, military officials said. In Sharqat, coalition forces targeted the alleged founder of an insurgent group tied to the leader of the al Qaeda in Iraq network in Beiji. As coalition forces called for the occupants of a target building to come out, one man ran out of the building and was directed to stop. He continued toward the ground force's position despite continued commands to stop and was killed. Two suspected terrorists were detained during the operation.
South of Kirkuk today, coalition forces captured an alleged associate of the terrorist network in the city. The suspect is linked to the alleged former leader of the assassination cell in Hawijah who was detained Jan. 10. Coalition forces detained four other suspected terrorists.
During two operations in Mosul today, coalition forces detained five suspected terrorists while targeting associates of foreign terrorists and weapons facilitators.
"These captures represent another step forward in disrupting the al Qaeda networks operating in northern Iraq," said Navy Cmdr. Scott Rye, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "As terrorists move their operations, we will follow. Al Qaeda will find no safe haven in Iraq."
Coalition forces killed an armed suspect during an assault on a suspected finance network for Iranian-trained "special groups" today in the Suwayrah area, south of Baghdad, military officials said. Upon arrival to the target area, coalition forces were engaged by an armed suspect. Coalition forces returned fire, killing the suspect. Large amounts of Iraqi currency were found on site.
Also in Baghdad today, coalition forces captured an alleged senior level car-bomb facilitator for al Qaeda in Iraq networks throughout Baghdad and north to Tikrit. Reports indicate the detainee was a former leader for the network in Karkh and was involved in the abduction of an Iraqi intelligence officer last spring. The suspect is believed to be a direct associate of senior al Qaeda leaders throughout Baghdad and the surrounding area. Coalition forces detained another suspect without incident.
In another operation conducted in western Baghdad today, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists, including a person linked to the transport of improvised explosive device and car bomb supplies in northern Iraq.
Also today, seven more suspects were detained during coalition operations in Baqouba and southwest of Samarra.
"Iraqi and coalition forces are on the offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We're finding the
places they hide and disrupting the supply of weapons they use for vicious attacks against innocent Iraqis."
Also today, the alert action of Iraqi soldiers prevented a suicide bomber from reaching her intended target in Baghdad's Rusafa sector. As a result of their quick reaction, officials said, the only death resulting from the aborted attack was that of the female suicide bomber.
Two Iraqi citizens were injured in the blast. The attempted attack took place when a woman, who appeared to be a beggar, was noticed having a bulky protrusion around her midsection, said Iraqi Army Col. Fahdel, 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 11th Iraqi Army Division. Alert Iraqi soldiers quickly realized her intent and ordered her to raise her hands, said Fahdel. At that time, she raised one of her hands, but had an object with wires attached concealed in her other hand.
Sensing the potential danger, the soldiers fired three rounds. The woman staggered back to a nearby shop, where the blast detonated. It is unknown whether she detonated the blast herself or if it was detonated by another source. The soldiers' quick action prevented the potential loss of a large number of civilian lives.
In yesterday's operations:
-- In Mosul, coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda leader involved in the network on the east side of the city. Reports indicate the suspect is associated with several senior leaders in the area, including a judge of a terrorist illegal court system, and the radical Taliban-like spiritual advisor for the al Qaeda in Iraq networks in the city. The ground force detained one suspect in addition to the wanted individual.
-- In another Mosul operation, coalition forces detained nine more suspected terrorists. In one of the target buildings, the ground force discovered what they assessed to be an IED materials cache. Once the area was clear and secure, coalition forces destroyed the explosive materials to prevent future use for terrorist attacks.
-- U.S. troops killed two terrorists during raids to disrupt al Qaeda operations northeast of Samarra near the Hamrin Mountains.
-- Members of the Sons of Iraq citizens' security group delivered two suspected terrorists to U.S. soldiers posted in Baghdad's East Rashid sector. The citizens had seized the suspects because they were carrying homemade explosives, which were later safely destroyed. Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers on patrol found a penetrator-type mine and 10 60 mm mortar rounds. Three men were detained during the incident.
In Feb. 15 operations:
-- Two terrorists detonated suicide vests, killing three Iraqi civilians and one Iraqi police officer outside a mosque in Tal Afar. Sixteen Iraqis were injured during the prayer-time explosion. "Our condolences go out to the families of those who lost loved ones in this senseless act," said Army Maj. Gary Dangerfield, a U.S. military spokesman. Information from the city's mayor indicates the damage and loss of life would have been much greater if the terrorists had been able to detonate their vests inside the mosque.
-- Iraqi National Police and U.S. troops discovered two weapons caches during a joint mission north of Baghdad. The total amount of ordnance discovered included 112 rocket-propelled grenade launchers; three white-phosphorus mortars; 16 82 mm mortars; six blasting caps; an improvised blasting cap; 13 hand grenades; 10 120 mm mortar propellant bags; 1,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition; an 81 mm mortar and a rocket. The rocket was destroyed on site.
-- Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team captured a key special groups criminal leader in Baghdad's Shaab neighborhood. U.S. intelligence sources said the detainee is linked to a series of area kidnappings and murders. The suspect also is believed responsible for weapons smuggling operations and the November bombing of a coalition outpost as well as the killing of an Iraqi police official.
-- Tipped off by an Iraqi citizen, U.S. soldiers found a substantial weapons and ammunitions cache in northwest Baghdad. The cache contained 80 81 mm mortar rounds, 38 120 mm mortar rounds, 33 107 mm rockets, a 60 mm mortar round, 500 anti-aircraft rounds, 50 rocket sleds and components, 30 hand grenades, 10 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, five RPG launchers, five mortar tubes, seven new AK-47s, five MP5 submachine guns and 150 200-round belts of 7.62 mm ammunition. "These were weapons ready to be used against the Iraqi people," said Army Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a U.S. military spokesman. "Countless lives were saved because one concerned Iraqi citizen tipped
off coalition forces about this cache."
-- Attack helicopters responded to a small-arms fire attack on coalition forces near the town of Jurf al-Sukr. The helicopters engaged one structure with rockets. The incident is under investigation.
-- Members of the Sons of Iraq citizens' group handed over a suspected special groups criminal to U.S. soldiers posted in Baghdad's West Rashid sector. The suspect was taken to a coalition forces' detention facility for questioning.
In Feb. 13 operations:
-- Iraqi and U.S. Special Forces troops detained seven suspected al Qaeda terrorists during a Baghdad-area operation. The detainees are linked to multiple improvised-explosive device attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces. A former insurgent provided information about terrorist groups operating in the area.
-- Iraqi forces discovered a large weapons cache and delivered it to coalition troops. The munitions were collected by Iraqi civil defense employees from the towns of Numaniyah, Suveira and Aziziyah. The cache contained more than 2,000 pieces of munitions, including a 107 mm rocket, 14.5 mm rounds, 82 mm rounds, 155 mm rounds, 100 mm rounds, hand grenades, 130 mm rounds and 30 meters of fuse-fire cord.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)