American Forces Press Service
March 6, 2008 - Coalition forces killed four terrorists and detained 26 suspects during operations over the past two days to disrupt al Qaeda networks operating in northern and central Iraq.
During operations today:
-- In Baghdad and Abu Ghraib, coalition forces detained four suspects while targeting an alleged al Qaeda senior leader. The targeted individual allegedly is responsible for the overall operational direction for the city's networks and is believed to be the network's senior leader for Baghdad's southern belt.
-- In two coordinated operations north of Taji, coalition forces targeted suspected associates of the leader for the Bizayz al Qaeda network, which operates east of Khan Bani Sad. The leader is believed to be a close associate of several al Qaeda senior leaders and related to a terrorist facilitator for the Baghdad networks. Coalition forces detained 12 suspected terrorists during the operations and found identification-card-making materials on site.
-- North of Samarra, coalition forces conducted an operation targeting an alleged leader for the city's al Qaeda network. The suspect reportedly is responsible for racketeering and embezzlement of local oil and gas infrastructure. During the operation, a man came out of the building and began to move toward the ground force. The man did not comply when repeatedly directed to stop. Based on intelligence reports indicating an increased use of suicide vests among al Qaeda associates, coalition forces engaged the man, killing him and wounding two suspects near him. The suspects were subsequently detained, treated on site and transported to a military medical facility for further care. In addition to the wounded individuals, two other suspected terrorists were detained.
-- In northeast Mosul, coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda cell leader who reportedly commands a group of terrorists responsible for operations in several city districts. His group is believed to be responsible for multiple attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces and Iraqi government officials. The group also allegedly is involved in the construction of car bombs. During the operation, the suspect identified himself to the ground force and was detained without incident.
-- Two suspected terrorists were detained during operations in Beiji. One is an alleged associate of several al Qaeda senior leaders operating in the Tigris River Valley. The suspect also reportedly is connected with members of the Beiji al Qaeda network, and military and administrative leaders for the network in Samarra.
"Iraqi and coalition forces continue to find and dismantle al Qaeda in Iraq's networks," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Operations like these show that, while a tough fight remains ahead of us, we will keep al Qaeda on the defensive, diminishing the terrorists' ability to wreak their indiscriminate violence on innocent civilians."
In operations yesterday:
-- East of Samarra, forces conducted an operation targeting an alleged associate of an explosives facilitator connected to the al Qaeda network in Baghdad. Intelligence reports led coalition forces to a location where the wanted individual was believed to be operating, and they observed two suspects in the target vehicle. The driver failed to comply when forces tried to stop the vehicle. The assault force eventually fired on the vehicle to stop it and observed the driver, who was armed with a pistol, and a passenger attempt to evade capture. Coalition forces killed both men. As the ground force cleared the area, they found al Qaeda propaganda materials and false identification documents. The vehicle was destroyed to prevent further use for terrorist activities.
-- In another operation nearby, coalition forces followed a group of men believed to be associated with a known al Qaeda meeting location. As they arrived in the target area, three of the suspects surrendered to the ground force and were detained. A fourth suspect drew his pistol and attempted to detonate the suicide vest he was wearing. Coalition forces engaged and killed the terrorist. The ground force safely disposed of the suicide vest to prevent future use. When forces cleared the area, they found weapons, a military-style assault vest, terrorist propaganda, media and improvised explosive device materials. Both buildings were destroyed to prevent further terrorist use.
"Al Qaeda will find no safe haven in Iraq," Danielson said. "Iraqi and coalition forces, with the help of the Iraqi people, will keep the pressure on the terrorists, improving security for all Iraqis."
In other operations this week:
-- Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division discovered a munitions cache on a routine patrol in west of Taji on March 3. The soldiers found 20 artillery rounds of various calibers, four AK-47 assault rifles, 90 artillery fuses, six motor rockets, three anti-tank mines, six hand grenades, 1,000 7.62 mm rounds, a rocket-propelled grenade, 20 anti-aircraft rounds, five anti-tank rocket rounds and a rifle. The weapons and munitions were consolidated and controlled by explosive ordnance disposal personnel for disposal. The mission was part of Operation Phantom Phoenix, the ongoing operation to kill or capture al Qaeda in Iraq and to deny them rest and sanctuary in Baghdad and the surrounding rural areas.
-- Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division detained three insurgents and discovered two weapons caches during an overnight raid in Adwaniyah on March 3. Individuals in the area had informed their sheik that a member of the community was attempting to recruit fellow citizens for insurgent activities against coalition forces and fellow Iraqi citizens. Concerned for the safety of his town, the sheik passed the information to coalition soldiers. Soldiers discovered bomb-making materials, cassette tapes and other propaganda inside the suspect's house. Outside the house, soldiers discovered a weapons cache containing 100 feet of detonation cord, five grenades, a quarter pound of TNT, 5 pounds of plastic explosives, two rocket-propelled grenade charge tubes, 28 mortar round charges, 33 bags of gunpowder, 5 pounds of unknown bulk explosives, five shotgun shells, two AK-47s, two machine guns, two blasting caps, four timers, two 7.62 mm ammunition magazines and 5 ounces of acetone peroxide, a primary high explosive. The following day, soldiers were led to a cache containing five 120 mm mortars and a bucket full of washing-machine timers.
-- Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Brigade successfully conducted Operation Chaos Thunder Strike II with the Iraqi army in the Rashad Valley in northern Iraq's Kirkuk province. The air assault mission is part of Operation Phantom Phoenix. The joint forces moved throughout the area in the middle of the night, searching for terrorist activity and consulting with the citizens as they gathered information and made their presence known.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)