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American Forces Press Service

Troops Detain Scores of Suspects, Discover Bomb Factory

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2007 – Coalition forces nabbed more than 50 suspects and dismantled a bomb factory in Iraq over the past few days.

During operations today, coalition forces northwest of Taji detained seven suspects with reported ties to foreign-fighter facilitation. In Ramadi, troops nabbed four other suspects with alleged ties to al Qaeda.

Early this morning in Mosul, coalition forces captured a former paramilitary leader who allegedly is responsible for setting up al Qaeda terrorist training camps in Iraq and Syria, military officials said.

Coalition forces discovered a large car-bomb factory during operations in northern Baghdad today. The area around the factory was cordoned off to ensure the safety of nearby residents.

During the operation, troops captured a suspected terrorist with alleged ties to an al Qaeda car-bomb and assassination cell.

Elsewhere in Baghdad today, coalition forces captured three suspects believed to be key members of a car-bombing network. They also discovered a vehicle prepared as a car bomb and a cache containing weapons and explosives.

“Coalition forces will continue systematic and methodical operations in order to hunt down and capture or kill terrorists trying to prevent a peaceful and stable Iraq,” Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said.

“This is especially true when those terrorists are employing weapons that can damage or destroy coalition aircraft or using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in attacks against Iraqi citizens,” he said.

In other news from Iraq today and in recent days:

-- Coalition forces liberated three Iraqi hostages during an operation in Karmah this morning. The hostages, who said they were handcuffed and beaten by suspected terrorists, are undergoing medical treatment and will be reunited with their families.

-- During operations in Baghdad yesterday, coalition forces captured the suspected leader of the Rusafa car-bomb network, an al Qaeda in Iraq organization responsible for recent bombings in eastern Baghdad.

-- Coalition forces operation in Basra and Hillah over the past few days captured four suspected members of the Khazali network, an organization directly connected to the January kidnapping and murder of five American soldiers in Karbala, military officials said.

-- A new operation aimed at cracking down on al Qaeda terrorists and illegal militias in Baghdad launched yesterday. The operation, called Arrowhead Strike Nine, is a component of the new Baghdad security plan announced Feb. 13. In the operation’s early stages, 1,600 Iraqi and coalition forces detained 31 suspects. Combined forces also discovered two weapons caches containing nitric acid and chlorine.

-- In East Baghdad's Salman Pak neighborhood yesterday, at least four Iraqis were killed and seven were wounded when insurgents attacked with indirect fire. Iraqi security forces and 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, soldiers responded to the blast and sealed off the area. The injured were treated at the scene before being transported by Iraqi national police for further medical care.

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

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