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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Troops Free Captive Iraqis, Detain Suspected Terrorists

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2007 – Coalition forces freed five captive Iraqis and detained six suspected terrorists during operations throughout Iraq today.

Coalition forces freed five Iraqis who had been held captive and tortured by terrorists, targeting the building where the captives were held northeast of Karmah during continued operations to disrupt the al Qaeda network operating in the area.

After a thorough search of the building, ground forces found a padlocked room. Inside were a boy who had been kidnapped and severely beaten with chains, cables and hoses, and four men who also showed signs of torture. The boy said the terrorists had hooked electrical wires to his tongue and shocked him.

Coalition forces evacuated the five individuals and treated their injuries. The hostages indicated their captors were foreign fighters who spoke with different accents. The hostages will be turned over to their respective tribal leaders for repatriation.

"The brutality and viciousness of these acts demonstrate the complete disregard terrorists have for human life," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will continue to hunt foreign fighters who bring this violence into Iraq."

Several enemy fighters were detained today in a series of raids elsewhere in Iraq:

-- Coalition forces captured three suspected al Qaeda cell leaders during raids this morning in western Baghdad. One of the suspects is allegedly a commander of a group that conducts assassinations and car-bomb attacks in the capital city.

-- In Mosul today, coalition forces captured a suspected commander of a bomb cell and an alleged senior cell leader. Intelligence reports also indicate the alleged senior cell leader formerly led a sniper cell.

-- Coalition forces also captured four individuals with suspected ties to al Qaeda northeast of Karmah today.

-- During operations south of Fallujah, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists for alleged involvement with a regional al Qaeda in Iraq commander, officials report.

"Every day, we are hitting al Qaeda and disrupting their network," Garver said. "We will continue this incremental progress against them, using each operation as a stepping stone to the next."

In other recent operations, soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, discovered a component often used for bombs and traced it to a house near Hamadanyia, where they uncovered a weapons cache and detained the suspect who was with the weapons. The find yielded two AK-47 assault rifles, 1,000 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, several magazines, a video camera, six propane tanks, and many components used in the making of roadside bombs. An hour after finding the cache, the troops also found a bomb near the site. The suspect is being held for further questioning.

During a combat operation May 19, soldiers from Fort Drum, N.Y.'s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, thwarted a possible sniper attack while looking for evidence of three missing U.S. soldiers who were abducted May 12.

Soldiers were notified that two insurgents with weapons were lying in wait for the troops. After the insurgents were positively identified, they were shot by an AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship crew.

Soldiers later found a semi-automatic sniper rifle and a magazine full of 7.62 mm ammunition. The unit also confirmed one of the insurgents was killed. The weapon will be analyzed to see if it had been linked to previous incidents within the area of operations, U.S. officials said.

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

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