War on Terrorism

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Troops in Iraq Detain Suspect, Seize Mortars; Commander Refutes Charges

American Forces Press Service

May 19, 2009 - Coalition and Iraqi forces detained a suspect and seized weapons in Iraq, and a U.S. commander refuted charges against American troops in the past three days, military officials said. During a joint operation in Baghdad's Mansour district yesterday and May 17, troops detained a suspected criminal on a warrant and discovered nearly 30 mortar rounds of various sizes. Military officials said the suspect was held for questioning and that an explosive ordinance team moved the weapons for further investigation.

Also on May 17, a senior U.S. commander in Mosul appeared on a local television talk show to refute charges that U.S. forces fire indiscriminately on local civilians.

"I have received similar reports about us doing random shooting, and this is absolutely not true," Army Col. Gary Volesky, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, said on Al Mosulia, a Mosul news agency station.

Military officials said that as a method of self-defense, U.S. soldiers used small-arms fire to engage militants wielding grenades in recent attacks on joint Iraqi and coalition patrols.

"Enemies of the nation continue to attack your Iraqi security forces and coalition forces without regard to civilians who are ultimately killed during these attacks," Volesky said. The colonel stated his position that the joint goal is to protect the lives of innocent civilians and to continue security and reconstruction efforts in the region.

Volesky also discussed other aspects of the security situation and the rule of law in Ninevah province on the program.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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