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American Forces Press Service

Dozens of Suspects Detained in Iraq, Weapons Caches Found

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2007 – Iraqi and coalition forces detained 26 suspects and seized multiple weapons caches in Iraq during several recent operations in the country, and terrorist bombers continued to strike against Iraqi civilians and security forces today.

Raids today targeting al Qaeda, a foreign fighter facilitation network and bombing networks, netted 13 suspects.

Coalition forces detained four individuals northeast of Karmah for suspected involvement in facilitating the movement of foreign fighters into Iraq. Four more suspected terrorists with alleged ties to the al Qaeda network were detained in the town of Hit, and coalition forces detained an individual with suspected al Qaeda ties in Ramadi.

Intelligence reports led coalition forces to a suspected weapons dealer in Baghdad, where they detained three suspected terrorists believed to be involved in transporting weapons and facilitating foreign fighters.

Coalition forces also targeted a Baghdad car-bomb network, and detained one suspected terrorist in a raid in the city.

"We're targeting organizations that equip terrorists and execute attacks that kill and injure innocent Iraqis," Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said. "We continue to steadily and systematically dismantle their networks."

Also today, coalition forces destroyed a torture room, a large weapons cache and bomb-making materials while targeting terrorists in Sadr City.

They targeted the location based on intelligence reports indicating the presence a suspected terrorist cell with ties to a kidnapping network that conducts attacks within Iraq as well as interactions with rogue elements throughout Iraq and into Iran.

During a search of the objective, the force found a torture room and cache of more than 150 mortar rounds, ammunition and bomb-making materials.

Because the explosive nature and instability of the materials, coalition forces cordoned off the area and an explosives team detonated the materials in place.

When ground forces initially approached buildings at the targeted location, they began taking heavy small-arms fire from one of the buildings. Using appropriate self-defense measures, coalition forces returned fire. Four more armed men engaged the ground forces from behind a vehicle. It was struck when coalition forces returned fire. The vehicle was destroyed.

Despite efforts to subdue the attack, coalition forces continued to take enemy fire, and called for close-air support.

It’s estimated that eight to 10 attackers were killed during the operation.

"Coalition forces continue to target terrorists who use torture, improvised explosives devices, and facilitate the training of those who would use the same methods," Garver said.

A car bomb detonated in the western Rashid Security District of Baghdad, outside a car market, at 11:30 a.m. today, killing about 30 Iraqi civilians and wounding at least 30 more. Iraqi police and soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, responded to the scene, cordoned off the area and secured the blast site.

Also this morning, terrorists attacked an Iraqi police emergency battalion headquarters in Samarra, Iraq. The police headquarters came under attack by a car bomb and small-arms fire, leaving 12 police killed and 11 others wounded. Six wounded policemen were medically evacuated, and five were treated and returned to duty.

Paratroopers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, responded with reinforcements and medical care. En route to the police headquarters, the paratroopers reacted to small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. A coalition vehicle was damaged and two U.S. soldiers were wounded. Additional coalition forces were dispatched to investigate.

Iraqi security forces, along with soldiers from the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, continued clearing operations in the Rashid District of southwestern Baghdad yesterday and today, detaining four suspected terrorists and confiscating several weapons caches, including one found at what is believed to be an explosively formed penetrator construction site. EFPs are the latest and most deadly type of IED terrorists are using against coalition and Iraqi forces.

Stryker troops from the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment "Tomahawks," along with Iraqi national police and Iraqi Army troops, continued the fourth and fifth days of Operation Dragon Fire/Arrowhead Strike 10 to rid the Rashid District of terrorists and criminals and to protect the population.

One of the caches discovered consisted of components used to build EFPs. "This is a significant find because of the threat EFPs pose," said Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, whose unit is responsible for the operational area within the Rashid District. "These components will never be assembled into something that can harm others. It also shows how effective the (clearing) operation is at getting after those who aren't acting in the best interests of a safe and secure Iraq."

Also discovered in two days of clearing operations were caches consisting of AK-47 assault rifles, an RPK machine gun, large 7.62 mm ammunition and mortar rounds of varying calibers. The operation included about 200 Iraqi army troops and national policemen and 1,100 U.S Army soldiers working together to keep pressure on those conducting activities against the government and coalition in Iraq, officials said.

During a May 4 operation, Iraqi special operations forces captured six suspects linked to the al Qaeda network in Radwaniyah who carried out attacks on local civilians and troops. The operation was aimed at disrupting al Qaeda operations responsible for car bomb attacks in Baghdad.

During the raid of several residences in Radwaniyah village, nine miles west of central Baghdad, Iraqi forces detained their primary targets without incident. Seven other suspects who were present during the operation also were detained.

The primary targets of this operation are alleged to be involved in an insurgent network responsible for conducting attacks against local civilians, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces in the surrounding Radwaniyah and Baghdad areas, officials said.

The Iraqi forces also destroyed a vehicle believed to contain a car bomb. All civilians were cleared from the area prior to detonation.

The same day, Marines from Regimental Combat Team 6 found numerous weapons caches while on patrol about six miles southwest of Camp Fallujah.

An explosives team destroyed all the caches, which included 9-volt batteries, mortar, tank and rocket-propelled grenade rounds, AK-47 rifle magazines, blasting caps, waterproof flairs, Dragonov sniper rifle rounds, bomb initiator systems, anti-aircraft guns including one mounted in the bed of a truck, Iraqi army uniforms, spools of command wire, pressure-plate-bomb initiators, recoilless rifle anti-armor rounds, various machine guns, rocket-propelled-grenade boosters, base stations, a rocket motor, and an RCA controller.

On May 3, Iraqi security forces detained a former military officer who served under Saddam Hussein and an associate. They are suspected of being involved in corrupt activities and illegal activity in Tikrit, officials said. Two suspected insurgents also were captured with them.

The suspect and his associate were wanted for using government facilities in Tikrit to store munitions, safeguard insurgents and plan and stage attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi security forces in the area.

In Babil province the same day, paratroopers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, found and destroyed 16 roadside bombs emplaced on roads.

While conducting security patrols in their area of operations, the paratroopers found the bombs before they could be used against coalition forces or Iraqi army soldiers.

All of the devices were either destroyed in place or taken by explosive ordnance disposal teams for further investigation prior to destruction.

Iraqi security forces, along with soldiers from the 3rd “Arrowhead” Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, continued clearing operations in the Rashid District of southwestern Baghdad on May 3.

Working in conjunction with the Iraqi 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st National Police Division, Stryker troops from the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment "Tomahawks" and 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment "Patriots" continued to methodically clear areas in the western portion of the
Rashid district. During the operation the troops detained three individuals suspected of involvement with a killing cell, and seized 10 weapons caches.

Numerous AK-47 assault rifles, SKS carbine rifles, RPK machine guns, rocket-propelled-grenade launchers as well as 81 mm and 82 mm mortar rounds were discovered during the second day of operations, in addition to the confiscation of two sniper rifles, blasting caps and body armor.

"The weapons and ammunition are never going to be used against innocent Iraqi citizens, Iraqi security forces and U.S. Soldiers again," Gibbs said. “It is a credit to the professionalism and experience of the Arrowhead Brigade’s soldiers and their leadership that they have played such a prominent role in the operation's early success.”

Gibbs’ unit is responsible for the operational area within the Rashid District. The operation included about 400 Iraqi national policemen and more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers.

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

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