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American Forces Press Service

Forces Capture 21 Suspected Al Qaeda in Iraq Members

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2007 – U.S. troops captured 21 suspected terrorists April 28 in Iraq during a series of raids across the country that targeted al Qaeda in Iraq, military officials said.

“We’re achieving a deliberate, systematic disruption in the al Qaeda in Iraq network,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said.

The captures “will slow al Qaeda’s ability to target and harm the people of Iraq,” Garver said.

Coalition forces netted six suspects during an operation conducted northwest of Karmah, Iraq. The detainees reportedly are linked to murders, kidnappings, attacks on coalition forces and the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, officials said.

Another two suspects were nabbed southeast of al Asad, including one person suspected of being an intelligence officer for al Qaeda in Iraq, officials said.

Two more captured suspected terrorists have alleged al Qaeda ties, officials noted, and are linked to the recent bombing of the Sarafiyah Bridge in Baghdad.

Another four suspected terrorists were detained in Mosul by coalition troops. Those detainees are accused of distributing weapons to al Qaeda in Iraq agents and of operating terror network that employed vehicle-borne IEDs, officials said.

Three other suspected terrorists were captured during a raid east of Balad, Iraq, and coalition forces captured four more suspected terrorists during a raid in Baghdad’s Sadr-City section April 28, officials said.

The recent captures illustrate the coalition’s determination to put added pressure on al Qaeda operatives in Iraq and elsewhere, officials said.

Pentagon officials announced April 27 that senior al Qaeda leader Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi had been captured last fall and is now being held at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In other Iraq news, coalition aircraft destroyed a truck laden with explosives April 27 during nighttime strike just east of Karmah, Iraq, officials said.

The truck had been stopped and searched by U.S. Marines at a checkpoint, who’d discovered the vehicle was loaded with explosives. Marine fighter jets used precision-guided munitions to destroy the truck.

Also, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers found a weapons cache during a patrol west of al Iskandariyah, Iraq, on April 27. The cache contained mortar equipment, a machine gun, a rifle, 75 hand grenades and other items.

In a separate operation, Iraqi and U.S. soldiers found a large weapons cache in Baghdad’s Ghazaliya district April 26.

The cache yielded 127 mortar tubes, 15 hand grenades, 13 rifles, three anti-tank mines, more than 200 pounds of dynamite, small-arms ammunition, 150 fuses, and other items, officials said.

The Iraqi soldiers also detained seven suspected terrorists during the raid.

(Information compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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