American Forces Press Service
April 21, 2008 - Coalition forces battling al-Qaida terrorists and Iranian-trained "special group" criminals killed 23 terrorists and detained 42 others during multiple engagements and missions across Iraq between April 18 and 21. "Iraqi security and coalition force soldiers are targeting criminals who violate the Iraqi rule of law," said U.S. Army Col. Allen Batschelet, chief of staff for Multinational Division Baghdad.
"Coalition soldiers are not targeting any political group or organization, but rather working with the [Iraqi security forces] targeting criminals who are engaged in violent acts or about to commit a violent act," Batschelet emphasized.
"It is the Iranian-supported special group criminals who are the primary reason the people of Baghdad are suffering. They are responsible for continued [improvised-explosive-device] attacks and firefights that are causing innocent civilian deaths," he said.
During two operations in Mosul, coalition forces captured an alleged al-Qaida leader and a suspected associate today. The missions were based on information gathered in an April 3 raid. The alleged al-Qaida leader is believed to oversee attack operations.
In separate operations yesterday, Multinational Force Baghdad soldiers took part in a series of engagements with terrorists and special group criminals.
-- At 4 a.m., soldiers assigned to the 10th Cavalry Regiment's 7th Squadron detained two men carrying illegal weapons and bomb-making materials in the East Rashid district.
-- At 6:40 a.m., soldiers assigned to the 21st Infantry Regiment's 1st Battalion spotted five individuals emplacing an improvised explosive device in the Adhamiyah district. The soldiers engaged the terrorists, and during the engagement, the IED detonated, killing three terrorists and wounding another.
-- At 8 a.m., the 21st Infantry Regiment's 1st Battalion engaged and killed seven terrorists carrying three PKC machines guns, three AK-47 rifles, and a rocket–propelled-grenade launcher. A Stryker element supporting the mission killed two more criminals carrying AK-47s on a nearby rooftop.
-- At 3:30 p.m., a coalition force observation post in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood was fired upon by three special group criminals. U.S. soldiers returned fire killing one and wounding the other two.
-- At about 4 p.m., soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team discovered a substantial weapons cache containing 14 blocks of high explosives in the Zubaida area of Baghdad's Rashid district.
-- At 4: 45 p.m., following a rocket attack, an unmanned aerial vehicle positively identified five special group criminals loading a vehicle with rocket rails in Sadr City. The UAV followed the vehicle to a house and engaged the criminals as they were unloading the vehicle, firing one Hellfire missile, destroying the vehicle and rockets rails, and killing the two criminals.
-- At 10:20 p.m., soldiers assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team killed three criminals with a missile fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle after they were positively identified carrying weapons at a cache site in eastern Baghdad.
In other operations yesterday, coalition forces also captured a suspected Iranian-trained special groups commander and three other suspected criminals in the Kadamiyah district of Baghdad. Coalition forces also killed four terrorists and detained four suspects in an operation north of Baqouba that targeted individuals believed to be housing foreign terrorists in the area.
"We are not initiating these engagements," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Stover, a 4th Infantry Division member and a spokesman for Multinational Division-Baghdad, said of the April 20 actions. "Coalition forces will continue to defend ourselves against criminals who ignore the Iraqi rule of law."
In earlier operations, tips from local citizens netted three weapons caches in operations in Hakara and Basra on April 18 and 19.
-- Based on a tip, Iraqi army and U.S. from Multinational Division Center found a weapons cache during a combat patrol in Hakara on April 19.
-- Also acting on a tip, Iraqi army soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 36th Brigade, 9th Division, working with Multinational Division Southeast forces discovered a weapons cache in two vehicles during Operation Charge of the Knights in the Quibla district of Basra on April 19.
-- A tip from another local citizen led Multinational Division Center soldiers from 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), to a weapons cache near the Abu Eid bridge April 18.
In other operations April 18:
-- Coalition forces detained four suspected terrorists during operations targeting alleged associates of al-Qaida leaders southwest of Samarra and in southern Baghdad.
-- In southern Baghdad, coalition forces secured a building and detained a suspect allegedly involved in procuring bomb-making materials, including components for suicide vests.
-- In Beiji, coalition forces coordinated three operations targeting individuals believed to conspire with an al-Qaida leader known for coordinating bombing attacks. One suspect who attempted to evade the ground force was injured in the operation and taken to a military medical facility. Coalition forces captured two wanted men and detained 12 additional suspected terrorists.
-- During two operations in Mosul, coalition forces killed three and detained seven suspected terrorists, including one who was believed to have hidden a senior terrorist leader in his house. The targeted individual allegedly conducted attacks against Iraqi security and coalition forces and was involved in killings in Baghdad.
(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq and Multintional Force Iraq news releases.)