American Forces Press Service
March 20, 2008 - Coalition troops in Iraq today captured 15 suspected insurgents during operations in central and northern Iraq, military officials said.
-- In Baghdad, coalition forces detained an alleged member of a bombing network that supplies suicide vests for attacks against Iraqis.
-- In Sharquat, coalition forces captured an alleged al Qaeda roadside-bomb attack coordinator and another suspect.
-- In the northwest Iraq town of Biaj, coalition forces captured an alleged operative in the foreign terrorist facilitation network.
-- In Mosul, coalition forces detained a suspected terrorist allegedly linked to senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders.
-- In Baqouba, coalition forces captured six suspected terrorists during an operation targeting suicide bomber networks.
-- Southwest of Tikrit, coalition forces detained five suspected al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists and found a small weapons cache and bomb-making materials.
"Iraqi and coalition operations are degrading the terrorist networks, but al Qaeda in Iraq is still a deadly enemy and a tough fight remains ahead," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq. "The Iraqi people are rejecting al Qaeda's extremist ideology and indiscriminate violence, and we are committed to helping them achieve a secure future."
In operations yesterday:
-- In Baqouba, coalition forces captured a wanted individual and detained two suspected terrorists in operations targeting a suicide bomber network.
-- Southwest of Samarra, coalition forces targeted several improvised explosive device emplacement cells. Coalition forces engaged and killed two terrorists observed planting a roadside bomb. The coalition force also engaged a vehicle believed to be associated with the group. Coalition forces were engaged by small-arms fire by one of the occupants. Coalition forces returned fire, killing four terrorists. The vehicle, which contained rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, land mines, homemade explosives and other bomb-making materials, was destroyed by a fixed-wing aircraft to prevent further use for terrorist activity. Coalition forces stopped another vehicle nearby with two men inside. One man exited the vehicle and drew his weapon. Coalition forces killed him. The other man surrendered and was detained.
In March 18 operations:
-- The Iraqi National Police seized a substantial weapons cache in eastern Baghdad. The police had received a tip from a local concerned citizen about a large amount of weapons being stockpiled. The Iraqi police found: 34 107 mm rockets, 44 60 mm mortar rounds, 18 81 mm mortar rounds, 10 rocket-propelled grenades, 38 107 mm rocket fuses, 10 completed rocket sleds and another four partially constructed sleds, three RPG launchers, an 82 mm mortar tube, a 60 mm mortar tube, two RPK machine guns, a sniper rifle, numerous 7.62 rounds, four washing machine timers, four electronic boxes, a large bag of wire and various types of batteries. An explosive ordnance disposal team secured the cache.
-- Following a tip, U.S. 1st Infantry Division soldiers rescued a kidnapped man in the northwestern part of Baghdad's Rashid district. The 4th Brigade Combat Team troops found the battered man locked in a room at a house in Bayaa. The man was taken to a coalition medical facility for treatment.
In other news, U.S. soldiers from 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team captured a wanted criminal suspect during a March 16 operation in Narhwan. The detained individual was wanted by Iraqi security forces and coalition forces for his alleged role in several improvised explosive device attacks. He is suspected of smuggling weapons and explosives for several criminal groups throughout Iraq. Soldiers uncovered a small cache in the suspect's home containing an AK-47 rifle, two shotguns, a bayonet and a small quantity of small-arms ammunition.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)