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American Forces Press Service

Bomb-Making Factory Destroyed; Two Suspects Captured

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2007 – Coalition forces destroyed a munitions factory, detained two suspects and found scores of weapons in operations around Iraq over the past three days.

Coalition forces destroyed an al Qaeda in Iraq improvised explosive device factory yesterday during a controlled detonation in Salman Pak. While searching the factory, coalition forces found a large amount of IED-making material, including 1,000 pounds of various types of explosives.

An explosive ordnance disposal team determined that the material was too unstable to remove. Ground forces cordoned off the area and moved local citizens a safe distance from the site before it was detonated.

Also in Iraq yesterday, soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Division, with coalition advisors, targeted specific terrorist cells in the Jazeera neighborhood of Muqdadiya as part of an ongoing operation. Combined forces detained two suspected terrorists during the operation, and discovered 12 weapons caches. One detainee leads a sub-group responsible for emplacing IEDs and conducting kidnappings, military officials said.

"The discovery of the weapons caches and the elimination of terrorist cells is credible evidence to the progress of the 5th Iraqi Army Division," Col. David W. Sutherland, senior U.S. Army officer in the Diyala province and commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Cavalry, said.

Two caches contained IEDs that were fully prepared for detonation. The other caches included several anti-tank mines and IED-making materials, such as mortar rounds, propane tanks and other explosives. "As we continue to discover these caches, a significant impact is made on the enemy's ability to target the security forces and the people of Diyala," Sutherland said.

Two car bombs detonated south of Baghdad yesterday, killing four Iraqi residents and injuring 30 others. Iraqi police responded to the explosions and cordoned the area to prevent further casualties. Paratroopers from 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, assisted in the recovery and secured the area following the attack.

Combined forces found nine unexploded 57 mm rounds and one unexploded mortar round at the site. The ordnance was recovered for a controlled detonation.

Elsewhere, Multinational Division Baghdad forces found several large weapons caches along Iraq's Mulla Fayad Highway near the Rushdi Mullah village Feb. 14.

Soldiers of Company C, 4th "Polar Bear" Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, were burning reeds along the highway to deny terrorists the chance to use them for concealment when they heard explosions caused by the fires.

Upon investigation, they discovered a directional charge loaded with explosives, four empty directional charges, five tank rounds, a burned AK-47 assault rifle with two magazines, two 60 mm mortar base plates, and 300 rounds of AK-47 ammunition.

The remainder of the cache was destroyed with a controlled detonation.

Later that afternoon, a patrol from Company C found five more caches in the same area. They contained four 120 mm tank sabot rounds, Russian tank rounds, a sack of 12.7 mm heavy machine gun rounds, 15 empty directional charges, five explosive-packed directional charges rigged with detonation cord, a 105 mm rocket round and homemade explosives.

"We took 25 improvised explosive devices off the street today," said Army Maj. Web Wright, a spokesman for the 2nd BCT. "We are definitely making an impact on the al Qaeda and former regime members' freedom of maneuver, as well as their weapons stockpiles."

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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