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American Forces Press Service

Two Al Qaeda Leaders, Three Terrorists Killed; 39 Detained in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2007 – Coalition forces identified bodies of two al Qaeda leaders, killed three additional terrorists and nabbed 39 others during operations across Iraq recently, military officials said.

Coalition forces positively identified two more senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders killed in the May 1 operation west of Taji that left Muharib Abdul Latif dead. One of the terrorists killed during the operation was positively identified as Sabah Hilal al-Shihawi, who reportedly was Latif’s religious advisor.

Another terrorist killed during the raid was Abu Ammar al-Masri. Intelligence reports indicate that he was a foreign fighter facilitating insurgent activity and infrastructure support for al Qaeda in Iraq.

Both terrorists were positively identified by associates at the site. In addition, Shihawi’s identity was positively verified in a photograph.

“We will not wait for these terrorists to strike; we will seek them out,” said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “This is what al Qaeda in Iraq members can expect when they target the Iraqi people and security forces that protect them.”

During raids yesterday and today targeting al Qaeda leaders and a foreign fighter facilitation network in central Iraq, coalition forces killed three terrorists and detained six suspected terrorists.

En route to the first targeted location, coalition forces received small-arms fire from an individual with a chest rack of magazines and grenades. Troops reacted to the hostile threat with appropriate self-defense measures and returned fire, killing the armed terrorist, U.S. officials said.

Coalition forces continued to the first targeted site, where they called to the occupants to leave the building. Two armed men ran out of the building and engaged coalition forces with small-arms fire.

Using appropriate self-defense measures, coalition forces returned fire, killing one and injuring another, officials said. The injured individual was taken to a military medical facility, where he later died from his wounds.

Further searches of the targeted buildings uncovered four individuals suspected of ties to a foreign fighter facilitation network and al Qaeda in Iraq. The four suspected terrorists were detained.

In other operations, one suspect was detained southwest of Taji, and another was detained in a raid in northern Baghdad. Both individuals are allegedly tied to al Qaeda senior leaders and their network, military officials said.

"Each operation we conduct in pursuit of these terrorists is a systematic maneuver to chip away at the network of al Qaeda and rogue foreign fighter elements that are trying to derail the progress of Iraq," Garver said.

During raids in Sadr City this morning, coalition forces detained 16 suspected terrorists. The individuals targeted during the raid are suspected members of a secret cell terrorist network known for helping transport terrorist recruits, weapons and explosively formed penetrators from Iran to Iraq. Intelligence reports also indicate the secret cell has ties to a kidnapping network that conducts attacks within Iraq, and has links to rogue elements in Iraq and Iran.

"This morning's success is yet another example of the dedication and determination of coalition forces to rid Iraq of the terrorist organizations that threaten the safety and security of this country and its people," Garver said.

Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, discovered four improvised explosive devices, components for 25 additional improvised explosive devices, seven 107 mm Iranian-made rockets, and an 81 mm Iranian-made mortar during a combat operation in the Mahmudiyah area today. The contents of the cache were destroyed during a controlled detonation conducted by an explosive ordnance team.

In Operation Eagle Thunder III on May 2, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and the 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, from Fort Drum, N.Y., detained nine suspected terrorists and discovered weapons in Mahmudiyah. While conducting searches of the area, soldiers found a weapons cache in the reeds that consisted of homemade grenades. Troops also discovered two improvised explosive devices during the operation.

The suspected terrorists were detained for suspicious activity and are being held for further questioning. The weapons were destroyed during a controlled detonation conducted by the explosive ordnance team.

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

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