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American Forces Press Service

Iraqi Forces Kill at Least Four Attacking Insurgents

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24, 2006 – Iraqi forces working with coalition advisors killed at least four insurgents after being attacked during operations yesterday and Dec. 22, and a high-ranking terrorist has been confirmed as killed in an operation earlier this month, military officials reported.

After searching for an insurgent cell leader south of Baqubah yesterday, 5th Iraqi Army Division forces with coalition advisors came under heavy fire from several groups of street insurgents. As they left the area, the soldiers repelled the heavy automatic-weapons and machine-gun fire, killing and wounding several insurgents.

The coalition forces were unsuccessful in their search for the cell leader, who is suspected of leading a group responsible for the death of an Iraqi army colonel and for roadside bomb attacks.

Damage to the area from gunfire was reported. At least four insurgents were confirmed dead. There were no reports of injuries to civilians or Iraqi or coalition forces.

The attack on 5th Iraqi Army Division and coalition forces came just one day after they were surprised by sniper and several small-arms-fire attacks while on patrol Dec. 22, also in Baqubah.

After the sniper attack, Iraqi forces searched several buildings for the shooter, but only found spent ammunition casings at a location overlooking the area where they had been fired upon.

As they continued on patrol, the Iraqi and coalition forces were then attacked with small-arms fire. Forces returned fire on suspected insurgents in two vehicles who maneuvered on the patrol at street intersections, and were observed moving with the patrol on a parallel street. Several insurgents engaged patrol vehicles and were fired upon by Iraqi and coalition forces.

Several insurgents were killed and wounded. The coalition was unable to confirm exact insurgent casualty numbers due to security considerations. There were no reports of civilian casualties following the incident. There were no Iraqi or coalition casualties. Damage caused by Iraqi and Coalition Forces was limited, officials said.

In other news from Iraq, coalition forces today positively identified a terrorist killed in an operation Dec. 7.

Fahd Hilal Awidh al Salifi al Maqati al Utaybi, also known as Numan and as Fahd al-Saudi, was an Iraq-based Saudi foreign fighter facilitator and a member of an al Qaeda in Iraq operations cell in the Ramadi area, officials said.

During the operation, coalition forces attempted to stop a vehicle and detain its four occupants. The terrorists resisted, forcing coalition forces to fire into the vehicle. None of the occupants in the vehicle
survived. Coalition forces recovered an AK-47 and three pistols from the vehicle.

Fahd al-Saudi previously operated in Yemen as a facilitator responsible for sending foreign fighters to Iraq, officials said. He fled Yemen after Saudi and Yemeni authorities initiated investigations on his family and close associates due to indications he and his Yemeni-based group were planning external terrorist operations.

Intelligence reports also indicate he assisted Malaz Prison escapees by arranging their travel and safe haven in Jeddah.

Coalition forces yesterday detained four suspects in central Baghdad during an operation designed to capture an alleged insurgent leader aiding foreign fighters. The insurgent is wanted for facilitating and providing transportation and financial support to terrorists and foreign fighters conducting attacks against Iraqi civilians and Iraqi security forces. Coalition forces detained the suspects without incident and caused minimal damage during the mission. There were no Iraqi civilian, Iraqi forces or coalition forces casualties.

Finally, an Iraqi Army patrol rescued 16 kidnap victims in Baghdad’s Mansour neighborhood Dec. 22, officials announced today. Members of the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, received information from a tip line, and an Iraqi army patrol moved to the specified location. After searching a home, Iraqi troops found two men, four women and 10 children identified as hostages. All 16 victims were returned safely to their homes later that evening, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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