American Forces Press Service
March 23, 2008 - Coalition forces in Iraq killed 12 terrorists today during an operation east of Baqouba targeting members of a suicide bombing network, military officials said. The ground force was attacked with small-arms fire as it approached the targeted building. Responding to the hostile threat, coalition forces engaged five armed men, killing them, officials said.
The ground forces ordered the occupants to come out of the building. Some complied with the order, but others remained inside, according to officials. Coalition forces entered the building and were fired upon by several armed men. Seven more terrorists were killed in the engagement, and coalition forces detained five suspects on the scene.
Assault weapons, ammunition, grenades and military-style assault vests discovered on site were safely destroyed. Military officials said six of the dead terrorists had shaved their bodies, which is consistent with final preparation for suicide operations.
Elsewhere, coalition forces continued to target the terrorist bombing network in southwest Baghdad this morning, capturing a suspected bombing facilitator who officials said allegedly specializes in the distribution of homemade explosives. After he identified himself as the targeted suspect, the suspect led coalition forces to four other wanted individuals, who also were detained.
In Mosul today, coalition forces conducted a precision operation in which they captured an alleged terrorist leader suspected of carrying out attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces. In a nearby operation, ground forces detained three suspected terrorists while targeting associates of al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders, officials said.
Meanwhile, coalition forces captured an alleged associate of al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders and three other suspected terrorists this morning in Tikrit. On two occasions during the operation, officials said, vehicles sped toward the security perimeter. After using visual signals, coalition forces fired a warning shot. In one incident, the vehicle turned around and left; the other vehicle stopped, and the driver ran away. There were no injuries reported in either incident.
Elsewhere today, two coordinated operations in the Tigris River Valley targeted al Qaeda in Iraq's propaganda network.
Northwest of Tikrit, coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists, and west of Samarra, six additional suspects were detained, military officials said.
"Though Iraqi and coalition forces have captured and killed a substantial number of terrorists in operations like these, al-Qaeda in Iraq is still lethal, and a tough fight remains ahead," said Maj. Winfield Danielson, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We are committed to this fight and to improving public safety and security for all Iraqis."
In yesterday's operations:
–- Near the Hamrin Mountains, coalition forces conducted an operation targeting weapons facilitators and associates of al Qaeda in Iraq leadership. Intelligence reports led the assault force to the targeted suspects' location, where five individuals failed to comply with coalition forces' instructions or heed warnings. Perceiving hostile intent, coalition forces engaged the armed men with small-arms fire, killing them. Secondary explosions from a vehicle following the initial engagement indicated explosives or weapons were inside.
–- West of Samarra, coalition forces killed an armed terrorist when he threw a grenade at them from a tactical position. On the scene, coalition forces found terrorist propaganda materials.
–- In Baghdad, ground forces captured a wanted individual believed to be associated with al Qaeda in Iraq's media network. During a separate operation in eastern Baghdad, Iraqi National Police officers seized a munitions cache after receiving a tip from a citizen, military officials said.
–- North of Taji, coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists including an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq operative suspected of organizing bombing attacks.
–- During two operations in Mosul, coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist leader who is believed to have recently moved up in the organization after coalition operations decimated terrorist leadership in the area, officials said. Eight additional suspects were detained,
–- In Biaj, coalition forces detained one suspected terrorist while targeting foreign terrorist facilitators.
In March 21 operations:
–- Near Karwi, coalition forces conducted an operation targeting an al Qaeda in Iraq explosives network. Eight suspected terrorists were detained, including one man who tried to hide his weapon on a child, officials said. On the scene, coalition forces discovered a building with more than 600 pounds of materials used to make explosives, and three vehicles and a boat that tested positive for explosives residue.
–- In Baqouba, coalition forces killed a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq member during an operation on a building where known operatives were believed to be hiding, officials said. The targeted individual was known to be an expert in booby-trapping houses with explosives, Army Lt. Col. Patrick Mackin of the 2nd Infantry Division's 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team said. After the occupants of the building refused to exit after repeated tactical call-outs, supporting Apache helicopters fired rounds into the building, and close-air support by fixed-wing aircraft dropped three bombs on the building. "The danger that any assault on the building by coalition forces would be met with either a house-borne improvised explosive device or suicide vest explosion was probable and led to the ultimate decision to engage the building with precision munitions," Mackin said.
In March 20 operations:
–- Six terrorists were killed in West Rashid after Iraq attack aviation assets responded to an indirect-fire attack on coalition forces.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)