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American Forces Press Service

Task Force Baghdad Troops Foil Separate Attacks, Detain Suspects

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2005 Task Force Baghdad soldiers thwarted three car bomb attacks within five hours in southern Baghdad, Iraq, on Aug. 13.

Soldiers on patrol at 6:20 a.m. discovered a blue truck with a dead body inside it parked near an intersection in southern Baghdad. The back of the vehicle appeared to be packed with explosives.

The patrol secured the site and called in a team of explosives experts, who verified there were munitions in the back of the truck. The team safely detonated the car bomb.

Less than three hours later, another Task Force Baghdad unit working in southern Baghdad found bombs on both sides of a major highway.

The soldiers cordoned off the area and called in explosives experts to dispose of the bombs. While the explosives team was examining the bombs, a vehicle sped toward the outer perimeter of the cordon around the bomb site. The soldiers shouted and waved for the car to stop. After the soldiers fired warning shots, the driver stopped about 400 yards away and the car exploded.

When the explosives team on site inspected the car, they determined it had contained four mortar rounds and had detonated prematurely, killing the suicide bomber.

Just after 11 a.m., a third Task Force Baghdad patrol in the same area found a parked car with explosives in the front seat. Within minutes, the soldiers had secured the area and an explosive ordnance disposal team was at the scene to investigate.

The team found a bomb in the front door of the car and more munitions hidden in the trunk.

The explosives experts safely detonated the car bomb. "Our soldiers continue to work hard, which is evident by these significant finds. We are making great strides in defeating the terrorists here. We are making a difference," Army Command Sgt. Maj. Grady Gayton, 1st Battalion, 108th Armor Regiment, 48th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said.

Soldiers from Task Force Baghdad captured terror suspects and discovered weapons caches during a series of pre-dawn combat operations in the capital city Aug. 13.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 108th Armor Regiment, conducted the largest operation at 4 a.m. The soldiers cordoned off a number of suspected terrorist safe houses and searched house to house. The unit detained 10 suspects thought to be involved in terrorist activities in southern Baghdad.

Later in the day, coalition forces, acting on tips by Iraqi citizens, found two weapons caches in northwest and southeast Baghdad.

Soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, found the first cache at around 4 p.m. in southeast Baghdad. The cache contained rocket-propelled grenades and two launchers, as well as 16 mortar rounds and a launcher. An explosives ordnance disposal team safely destroyed the munitions.

Just before 11 p.m., soldiers from B Company, 1st Battalion, 115th Infantry Regiment, responding to another Iraqi citizen's tip, found five boxes of anti-aircraft ammunition hidden in northwest Baghdad.

Task Force Baghdad soldiers also thwarted attacks and captured suspects Aug. 12. Three separate combat operations in northern and southern Baghdad resulted in the capture of six terror suspects and the seizure of a car bomb before terrorists could use it.

The largest operation of the morning occurred at 3:20 a.m. in northern Baghdad. Task Force Baghdad soldiers manning an observation post were fired upon by terrorists hiding in a house about 100 yards from the soldiers' position.

The soldiers returned fire and surrounded houses in the area. Within six minutes, the patrol secured the site, searched two of the five houses in the area, and found spent shell casings in one of the homes. When the soldiers searched the other three homes they found an AK-47 assault rifle that was still warm and more shell casings. The unit took three suspects from the homes into custody for questioning.

In other combat operations, terrorists fired on coalition forces patrolling in southern Baghdad at 6:15 p.m. The soldiers fired back and moved to cordon off the house the shots were coming from. In 10 minutes, the patrol had the house surrounded. Fifteen minutes later, the soldiers moved into the house, detained the three attackers, and seized an AK-47.

Two hours later, three men standing near a parked car fired on another coalition unit in southern Baghdad.

The soldiers returned fire and the terrorists fled. The soldiers found blocks of plastic explosives inside the car the men staged the attack from, with wires running to the trunk of the car. A team of explosives experts safely detonated the car bomb.

On Aug. 11, Iraqi and U.S. soldiers squelched a terrorist attack on a combined patrol base in southwest Baghdad by capturing six of the attackers and taking their weapons. The attack began just after 7:50 p.m., when terrorists fired five rocket-propelled-grenade rounds at the patrol base. The attackers then fired rifles sporadically at the base for about 10 minutes.

The Iraqi and U.S. soldiers organized a patrol and set out toward the origin of the attack. Within minutes, the combined patrol came upon a group of people gathered around three vehicles a short distance from where the attack began. When the soldiers investigated, they discovered the cars' engines were warm. They also found two RPGs and three rifles with ammunition hidden nearby. The combined patrol took six people at the site into custody.

"We have been making a definite impact in our area of operations", said Army Lt. Col. Steve McCorkle, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry, 48th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

In other combat operations Aug. 11, Task Force Baghdad soldiers in the Aamel district of central Baghdad found a parked vehicle thought to have been involved in an earlier attack against coalition forces. The vehicle had bullet holes in the windshield and the same license plate number as the car seen in the earlier attack.

As the soldiers watched the car from a distance, a man tried to enter the vehicle. They captured and took him into custody for questioning.

Iraqi police made another arrest in central Baghdad shortly before midnight Aug. 11 when they detained a man with a black bag containing what the police thought was TNT. When the police questioned the man, he admitted he had planned to place a bomb somewhere in the area. Task Force Baghdad explosives experts were called to the scene to dispose of the bomb and take the suspect into custody for questioning.

(Compiled from Task Force Baghdad news releases.)

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