American Forces Press Service
Aug. 19, 2008 - A suspected member of an Iranian-backed "special group" turned into an informant for coalition forces today, and Iraqi and coalition forces detained 16 suspected terrorists and several weapons caches in operations over the past three days, military officials reported. The special groups suspect turned into an informer this morning during operations in Qasarin, about 30 kilometers north of Baghdad in Diyala province. Coalition forces were pursuing a man affiliated with the "Asaib al Haq" criminal ring, a Shiite group that broke away from Muqtada al-Sadr's militia. According to information provided by suspects already in custody, the suspect was attempting to restart Asaib al Haq in the Qasarin area in Diyala province, officials said. In addition, the wanted man is suspected of being the weapons and finance facilitator for Asaib al Haq in that area.
Coalition forces entered the wanted man's residence, where his family identified him as the suspected criminal. In addition, forces detained two other suspects at that location. The captured man then led coalition forces to the house of a senior Asaib al Haq member in Qasarin, who was captured without incident.
In other developments, Iraqi and coalition forces targeted al-Qaida in Iraq leaders and networks, detaining 12 suspects yesterday and today during operations in central and northern parts of the country.
Iraqi and coalition forces captured a regional al-Qaida in Iraq leader in Kirkuk yesterday. The wanted man reportedly manages a network that provides components for homemade explosives from Basra to Mosul. In Beiji yesterday, coalition forces detained one suspect while targeting associates of senior leaders in a suicide-bombing network.
Five suspected terrorists were detained during another operation in Beiji today, when coalition forces targeted members of a bombing network in the Tigris River Valley. Coalition forces in Baghdad captured a wanted man today who is assessed to be a senior al-Qaida in Iraq operative in the southern part of the capital.
In Mosul, coalition forces captured a man who reportedly plants roadside bombs and conducts bombing attacks against Iraqi civilians and security forces. Three additional suspects were detained in the operation.
In operations yesterday:
-- Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team found a 122 mm rocket and 300 12.7 mm rounds northwest of Baghdad.
-- Acting on a tip from a local resident, Iraqi soldiers seized three roadside bombs designed to pierce armor-hulled vehicles, a 155 mm mortar round and a rocket-propelled grenade in the Sadr City district of northern Baghdad.
-- Iraqi National Police officers seized a small cache in the New Baghdad district of eastern Baghdad. Police uncovered a cache in the New Baghdad district just south of Sadr City that included a 155 mm artillery round with plastic explosives inside, a 120 mm illumination artillery round and a rocket-propelled grenade.
-- Iraqi National Police seized a munitions cache in the Samari mosque in the Karadah district in eastern Baghdad. The Iraqi Police entered and searched the mosque as soldiers from 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, provided an outer cordon of security. The cache consisted of four Iranian 107 mm rockets, five 107 mm rockets of unknown origin, three 107 mm warheads, two empty rocket motors and two fuses.
In operations Aug. 16-17, the Muqdadiyah special weapons and tactics team detained four suspected terrorists in Muqdadiyah. The Iraqi SWAT unit detained three suspected members of an al-Qaida in Iraq improvised explosive device and rocket cell Aug. 17. One of the suspects is said to be the primary leader of the cell, which consists of about 10 members. During the operation, the team members confiscated eight 120 mm mortar rounds believed to be intended for use against coalition forces. In a separate operation Aug. 16, the team detained a suspected terrorist believed to be an intelligence officer for the network. Reports indicate the man also served as an intelligence officer for the former regime under Saddam Hussein.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)