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American Forces Press Service

Four Insurgents Captured; Leaders Discuss Security in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2006 – Iraqi and coalition forces captured a senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader yesterday and detained three insurgents the previous day. Earlier this week, multinational leaders met in Tikrit to discuss security operations in Iraq.

Special Iraqi army forces with coalition advisors, captured a terrorist leader during a raid yesterday in Fallujah. The suspect had directed sniper, improvised-explosive-device, and car-bomb attacks against Iraqi security forces and helped abduct and kill several Iraqi police officers, military officials said.

The terrorist leader also directed an extensive murder and intimidation campaign and harbored other terrorist fighters. He was a senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader in the Anbar province and controlled several insurgent groups.

Minimal damage was done to the objective, and there were no Iraqi civilian or coalition forces casualties, military officials said.

A day earlier, Iraqi and coalition forces detained three suspected insurgents who were conducting an indirect fire attack on Forward Operating Base Gabe and endangering local civilians in Baqubah and destroyed three vehicles..

Coalition forces observed insurgents in a vehicle fleeing from the scene of the indirect-fire attack. The insurgents began driving erratically around the city, firing small arms and machine guns at innocent civilians. The insurgents stopped at an abandoned building, where they cross-loaded weapons and equipment with two other vehicles.

An air weapons team engaged and destroyed two vehicles as they attempted to flee, and the team returned to the abandoned building to destroy the third. Air reconnaissance observed secondary explosions from the first two vehicles. Iraqi and Coalition ground forces searched the abandoned building and detained three suspects. The detainees were taken to a secure location for questioning.

“This is another example of the terrorists' and violent insurgents' disregard for the welfare and safety of all the people of Diyala," said Army Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and the senior U.S. officer in the Diyala Province. "Their hatred is spread through the streets with no regard for those that respect peace."

Elsewhere, senior Iraqi and coalition force leaders met Dec. 6 at Forward Operating Base Speicher to discuss the way ahead for security in northern Iraq and future operations in Multinational Division North, military officials said. Iraqi army and police commanders from Ninewa, Kirkuk, Salah Ad Din and Diyala provinces met with their coalition counterparts and senior leaders from the Interior and Defense ministries to develop and coordinate plans for future security operations.

"This is a great day for all the leaders in MNDN," Army Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general of operations for Task Force Lightning, said. "The opportunity for leaders from all the provinces in MNDN to discuss their strategy is tremendous. It allows all leaders to take away lessons learned by their counterparts."

The daylong conference strengthened the relationship between the Iraq security force and coalition forces, allowing their leaders to focus on integrating and synchronizing ongoing security operations, military officials said.

"These are difficult and complicated matters that affect millions of Iraqis," Bednarek said. "The dynamics of security and stability in northern Iraq are going to change the future of MNDN. It is in this room where all of these leaders have come together to discuss that future that some hard decisions will have to be made."

More security meetings between Iraq security force and coalition force leaders are expected, military officials said.

Earlier this week, soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division’s Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment discovered an improvised explosive device south of their patrol base along the bank of the Euphrates River on Dec. 5.

After examining the IED, soldiers searched the surrounding buildings in the area for terrorist suspects linked to the bomb. In the bedroom of a nearby house, soldiers discovered a bag with IED-making materials that matched the device found on the Euphrates bank. The patrol arrested the owner of the house and confiscated the rest of the IED-making materials. The suspect was detained for further questioning.

That same day, soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division’s Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, discovered a car bomb near Mahmudiyah. The car bomb was composed of 40 57 mm anti-aircraft rounds planted in the doors of a red compact car. An explosive ordnance disposal team detonated the explosives. No one was injured in the incident.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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