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American Forces Press Service

Forces Capture Six Terrorists; Iraqi Police Find Weapons in Mosque

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2007 – Coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists during operations around Iraq today, and Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers found a weapons cache inside a Baghdad mosque April 23.

Coalition troops detained three suspected terrorists today during a raid southeast of Salman Pak, officials said. Coalition forces were targeting senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders and a group that provides foreign fighters.

Also today, coalition forces nabbed two more suspected terrorists during a raid north of Karmah, while another suspected terrorist was detained in an operation in Mosul.

“We are continuing to disrupt the al Qaeda network and stop those who harm civilians and security forces,” Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said.

Meanwhile, Iraqi national police and U.S. soldiers uncovered a weapons cache at the al Nur Mosque in Baghdad’s Jihad neighborhood April 23 thanks to a tip from local residents, according to officials.

Forces from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Iraqi National Police Division, raided the location after locals reported seeing insurgents firing mortars and fleeing into the mosque. They also reported that the mosque hadn’t been used for religious purposes in months.

Soldiers assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, cordoned off the area, as the Iraqi police entered the mosque to search for insurgents and contraband.

The Iraqi police found a cache that included four 155 mm artillery rounds, 21 blocks of military-grade C-4 explosives, two propane tanks with C-4 explosive attached, three rolls of wire, one 107 mm rocket rigged as an improvised explosive device, a rifle, and a roll of wire wrapped around a soda bottle, officials said.

No U.S. forces entered the mosque at any time during the operation, officials said.

In other news, U.S. officials announced today that coalition forces had killed a wanted al Qaeda leader linked to recent chlorine-gas bombings in Iraq. The terrorist was killed April 20 during a coalition operation, according to U.S. military officials.

Coalition officials said they've positively identified al Qaeda operative Muhammad Abdullah Abbas al-Issawi as one of several terrorists killed during an anti-terrorist operation northwest of Baghdad.

Issawi, also known as Abu Abd al-Sattar, was a known al Qaeda terrorist leader known to operate in the Karmah and Ameriyah areas and was the al Qaeda in Iraq security chief for eastern Anbar province, according to officials.

Coalition forces were searching for associates of a known senior leader within al Qaeda in Iraq. During the operation the terrorists engaged coalition ground forces with small-arms fire. Coalition forces responded, killing two terrorists, including the al Qaeda security chief, while detaining one person. Assault vests, weapons, hand grenades and suicide vests were seized as contraband.

Issawi had links to al Qaeda kingpin Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He was also a weapons supplier to insurgent forces, officials said. He was also linked to recent chlorine truck-bomb attacks staged across Iraq. Intelligence reports also indicate that his terror network used 12- to 13-year-old children as car-bomb drivers.

"Abu Abd al-Satter's death is a serious disruption to al Qaeda in Iraq's (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) network," Garver said.

The terrorist’s demise also "represents one more victory in the war against those that would deny safety and security to the Iraqi people," he said.

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

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