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American Forces Press Service

Iraqi Forces Search University, Target 'Death Squads'

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, August 2, 2006 – Iraqi security forces searched a university in Ramadi, Iraq, today in response to insurgent activity and targeted militia “death squads” in four operations yesterday, U.S. military officials in Iraq reported.

This morning, Iraqi security forces, with support from coalition forces, began searching Al Anbar University in southwestern Ramadi, which is being used as a center for insurgent activity.

Iraqi and coalition forces have received sniper fire from the university on multiple occasions, and credible intelligence reports indicate the university is being used as an insurgent safe haven and command center, officials said. Iraqi and coalition forces are securing the university to provide a safe and secure educational environment.

Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division, with support from soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, are searching the university. The 7th Division Military Police Company is assisting in providing security.

Military personnel will leave the university as soon as possible, turning over security to Iraqi police, officials said. Operations were planned to coincide with a recess from summer classes.

Elsewhere, Iraqi army and security forces conducted four early-morning raids in Baghdad yesterday, capturing three primary suspects associated with death squads in an ongoing effort to stem activities of these organizations. The precision operations, conducted by Iraqi forces accompanied by coalition force observers, occurred in three areas, all in the western part of Baghdad.

In the Ashulla area of northwestern Baghdad, Iraqi army forces captured two individuals, including one known high-level insurgent leader. This leader controls several smaller cells that allegedly conduct improvised-explosive-device attacks against coalition forces; traffic in weapons; and kidnap, torture and murder Iraqi citizens and Iraqi soldiers. Officials believe one of this individual’s “punishment cells” kidnapped and murdered 14 Iraqi soldiers in May as he looked on, officials said.

In the Rasheed area of southwestern Baghdad, Iraqi security forces conducted two separate raids and captured two primary targets. One individual is an insurgent informant alleged to be an active participant in targeting and killing Iraqi citizens. A second individual allegedly conducted a mortar attack against Baghdad International Airport, transported weapons and IEDs, and participated in the murder of Iraqi citizens, officials said.

During the fourth and final operation, Iraqi army scouts captured an insurgent cell leader and two others by in the Ghazaliya area of western Baghdad. This cell leader is believed to have conducted IED and rocket-propelled-grenade attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces; he also is believed to be involved in killing Iraqi citizens.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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