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American Forces Press Service

Air Strike Targets al Qaeda Leaders; Insurgents Captured

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2007 – A coalition air strike targeted al Qaeda leaders today in Iraq, and Iraqi and coalition forces detained 45 terrorists and foiled attacks throughout Iraq this week, military officials reported.

Coalition forces targeted the leadership of an al Qaeda in Iraq-related car bomb network during today’s air strike operation near Arab Jabour.

Intelligence reports indicated that this network is responsible for a large and devastating number of car-bomb attacks in the Baghdad area. It also is responsible for roadside-bomb and sniper attacks against the Iraqi people and Iraqi and coalition forces, officials said.

Coalition officials said they believe several key terrorist leaders were killed during the air strike, but that results are still being assessed.

In another operation, coalition forces yesterday captured a suspected insurgent allegedly responsible for planning and conducting several improvised-explosive-device and car-bomb attacks in western Baghdad and Fallujah. The capture occurred in the Abu Ghraib district, east of Baghdad International Airport. Three additional suspected insurgents were detained by coalition forces.

Elsewhere, soldiers of the 1st and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions detained 11 suspected insurgents yesterday in northeastern Ramadi during operations with coalition advisors to capture the leader of an insurgent cell network.

The Iraqi-led operation was targeting a man who is believed to be running two cells conducting IED attacks and murders against Iraqi civilians and Iraqi security forces, officials said. The cell leader is suspected of being directly involved in the deaths of two Iraqi soldiers.

In Ramadi, coalition forces used precision-guided munitions in two separate incidents during hostile actions today and yesterday. Eighteen insurgents were killed in the attacks.

In both instances, coalition forces were attacked with small-arms fire from several insurgent positions. Coalition forces returned fire, and when the attacks did not cease, used machine-gun fire and tank main-gun rounds. The insurgent attacks continued and coalition forces used precision-guided munitions to halt the attacks.

In other news, coalition forces killed a foreign terrorist facilitator and detained 29 suspected terrorists while conducting operations yesterday throughout Iraq.

In Tarmiyah, coalition forces detained 18 suspected terrorists who reportedlyre a involved in al Qaeda kidnapping operations, IED emplacement and terrorist safe-house activities.

Intelligence reports indicated that a foreign-fighter network involved in vehicle hijackings, kidnappings and insurgency funding was operating in Muhammadi. As coalition forces approached the targeted area, one armed man chambered a round and attempted to fire at ground forces. Coalition forces shot and killed the armed terrorist and detained one suspected terrorist.

Coalition forces also detained five suspected terrorists northwest of Rutbah tied to foreign fighter activities in Syria and Iraq.

Four suspected terrorists were captured by coalition forces in the Baghdad area with ties to car bomb manufacturing and emplacement and foreign terrorist facilitation.

One suspect with ties to al Qaeda in Iraq was detained in Tikrit.

In a separate operation, special Iraqi army forces captured a suspected death squad leader yesterday during operations with coalition advisors in southern Baghdad.

The death squad leader allegedly is responsible for carrying out kidnappings and murders against innocent Iraqi civilians in the Hai al Aamel, Bayaa and Sayidiyah neighborhoods. The leader and his cell are implicated in the kidnapping of three Iraqi civilians Dec. 10 and burning them alive.

In another operation, coalition forces, with the help of a local imam and the Iraqi army, detained two suspected terrorists and uncovered a weapons cache yesterday inside a mosque near Tarmiyah.

Intelligence reports indicated that al Qaeda in Iraq foreign-fighter facilitation cells were operating in the area and were using the mosque for weapons storage.

The local imam and Iraqi army personnel entered the mosque and secured the two suspects, handing them over to coalition forces for questioning. The weapons cache consisted of several AK-47s and 10 60 mm mortar rounds.

In Baghdad, Iraqi national police and Multinational Division Baghdad troops discovered two caches in a joint operation in al Doura, a southern neighborhood, yesterday.

The munitions caches included multiple side-arms, an AK-47 with 3,000 rounds, a complete IED, 15 pounds of homemade explosives, two pounds of plastic explosives, a 125 mm projectile with detonation cord and fuse, 239 57 mm projectiles, and various protective gear.

An explosive ordnance team destroyed the confiscated materials at the site.

Elsewhere, the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army, took quick action and prevented a car bomb attack on their compound when a member of al Qaeda attempted to penetrate the perimeter of the post Jan. 31 in Muqdadiya, Iraq.

At about 8:30 a.m., a fuel truck attempted to breach the gate of the compound. The guards immediately attempted to stop the truck with small-arms fire, killing the driver. The car bomb detonated outside the compound.

The detonation wounded 13 Iraqi army soldiers.

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

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