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American Forces Press Service

48 Detained, Weapons Caches Found in Iraq Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2007 – Iraqi and coalition forces detained 48 suspected insurgents and discovered weapons caches in Iraq over the past three days, military officials reported.

Soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, today detained a suspected insurgent wanted in connection with a recent rocket attack on a coalition forces' base near Baghdad. After receiving small-arms fire, troops moved to the suspect’s house and quickly secured the area. The suspect had an AK-47 assault rifle, two ammunition magazines and a cell phone.

In the Iraqi capital today, coalition forces detained a man for allegedly conspiring directly with al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders. Inside the targeted building troops found a cache containing weapons and explosives, including bomb-making chemicals. An explosives disposal team safely destroyed the materials off-site.

Coalition forces detained four suspected terrorists in Ramadi today for having alleged ties to al Qaeda in Iraq leaders. This raid was part of ongoing operations targeting al Qaeda in Iraq's command structure, officials said.

Troops nabbed three individuals in Hit today suspected of supplying foreign fighters and helping them move throughout the region. Coalition forces also detained three suspected terrorists today near Karmah for allegedly aiding foreign fighters.

“We continue to actively target al Qaeda and foreign fighter networks to reduce, and eventually eliminate, their ability to attack people and the institutions of Iraq,” said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

In other news from Iraq, terrorists killed at least 25 civilians, four Iraqi police officers and wounded about 130 other people yesterday afternoon when a car bomb detonated in Mahkmur.

Iraqi army and coalition force soldiers immediately responded to the attack site, treating victims at the scene and transporting casualties to a local hospital and medical facilities in Mahkmur and Irbil. Most who were wounded suffered minor injuries and were released, officials said.

The explosion destroyed one building and trapped an unknown number of people under the rubble. Both Iraqi security forces and coalition forces are working to remove the rubble and aid living victims the find.

“This is another cowardly and heinous act perpetrated by the anti-Iraqi forces,” said Army Col. Stephen Twitty, commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “Their horrific actions are a blatant attempt to intimidate the population and drive a wedge between the people of Iraq.

“We will not let that happen,” he continued. “Both the Iraqi security forces and coalition forces are working hard to prevent that.”

No Iraqi army or coalition force soldiers were injured. The incident is under investigation.

Also yesterday, Iraqi army soldiers and U.S. Army paratroopers captured 25 suspected terrorists in an operation south of Diyarah. The raid was aimed at suspects who military officials say are responsible for emplacing improvised explosive devices and conducting mortar attacks.

Soldiers from 1st and 2nd Battalions, 4th Brigade, 8th Iraqi Army Division, and paratroopers from the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, carried out “Operation Mongoose” to capture individuals responsible for recent attacks against coalition forces and local residents, military officials said.

In addition to nabbing 25 suspects, combined forces also found three 120 mm mortar rounds and various IED-making materials. The suspected terrorists are being held by the Iraqi army for further questioning.

Combined Iraqi and coalition forces launched a major security operation yesterday morning in Basra city, detaining six suspects and discovering a weapons cache.

Led by the Iraqi army and supported by the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancasters, and assets from the Joint Helicopter Force, the operation targeted high-level insurgents in Basra city’s Hyyaniyah district. Combined troops arrested six suspects, and in the Hay Al Mudhara district, troops discovered a significant quantity of weapons and munitions, including components used in making explosively formed penetrator roadside bombs, explosives, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, and militia propaganda.

Following the operation, multinational force soldiers were attacked by an improvised explosive device, small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. A Warrior armored vehicle was immobilized in the attack, but all coalition members safely returned to the contingency operating base. One rogue militia member was shot during the extraction of multinational forces.

“This operation shows the increasing capability of the Iraqi security forces as they take on the rogue militia who are seeking to disrupt the establishment of a secure environment and endanger the lives of the people of Basra,” said Army Maj. David Gell, Multinational Division Southeast spokesman. “Once more, our soldiers have shown their selfless commitment in supporting the Iraqi forces as they disrupt the terrorist activities, and move ever closer to provincial Iraqi control in Basra.”

Paratroopers detained three suspected insurgents during a raid at the Hateen apartment complex in Iskandariyah May 12.

A local resident tipped off Company D, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division paratroopers to the whereabouts of the men responsible for an explosively formed projectile attack that killed one soldier and wounded another. Paratroopers detained three suspected insurgents and are holding them for further questioning.

Iraqi special operations forces conducted an early morning operation May 12 south of Baghdad, capturing two suspects allegedly responsible for a bomb attack that killed a U.S. soldier earlier in the week. With coalition advisers present for support, Iraqi forces raided a residence in Baghdad’s Hillah area, capturing their primary targets without incident.

The suspects also responsible for killing innocent Iraqi civilians, and conducting explosively formed projectile attacks against coalition forces in central Iraq, officials said. No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured during this operation.

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

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