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American Forces Press Service

Coalition, Iraqi Forces Detain 28, Find Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2007 – Coalition and Iraqi forces detained 28 suspected terrorists and found two weapons caches in operations throughout Iraq in the past two days, military officials reported.

Coalition forces detained 20 suspected terrorists during several raids targeting al Qaeda in Iraq today.

In Baghdad, coalition forces raided a house looking for a suspected al Qaeda battalion commander. The ground force detained three suspected terrorists at the targeted location, including the alleged leader.

Intelligence reports indicate he is responsible for numerous attacks in Baghdad, including assassinations, attacks on news media and attacks on the city's infrastructure.

Coalition forces detained 11 suspected terrorists in an operation southwest of Baghdad targeting al Qaeda leadership. One of the individuals detained is allegedly a close associate of a Libyan who facilitates the movement of foreign fighters in the area.

In continuing operations to disrupt the car bomb network in Baghdad, coalition forces targeted a known explosives expert associated with the al Qaeda in Iraq network. The individual is also known to have knowledge of explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, and was recently promoted within the network. Coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists from the target location.

In Mosul, coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists linked to an al Qaeda weapons dealer allegedly involved in an IED network there.

Two suspected terrorists were detained during a coalition forces raid targeting al Qaeda leadership in Baghdad. Ground forces found a small cache of weapons, which they safely destroyed on site.

"We're continuing to take the fight to al Qaeda, to thwart their ability to attack Iraqis and spoil their attempts to destabilize the country," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

In another operation, Iraqi and coalition forces detained one suspected terrorist while targeting a terrorist cell leader this morning during raids in Sadr City.

The individual detained during the raid is closely linked to a suspected leader in a secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.

En route to the objective, Iraqi forces began receiving heavy small-arms fire from multiple locations near an intersection. Ground forces returned fire, but the incoming automatic fire continued. Coalition forces supporting the Iraqi forces, using appropriate self-defense measures, called in close-air support.

Although there were no terrorists confirmed killed in the fighting, the opposing gunfire was subdued, and Iraqi and coalition forces moved on to the objective.

Intelligence reports indicate the individual targeted is suspected of having direct ties to the leader of the EFP network as well as acting as a proxy for an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officer.

"These rogue militia elements have no respect for the peace of Iraq," Garver said. "We will continue to track them and diminish their ability to attack the Iraqi people and disrupt the progress of the country."

Meanwhile, as the search for two missing 10th Mountain Division soldiers continues, several arrests were made for other crimes.

Soldiers from Company D, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, detained two local men May 23 who are believed to be responsible for a May 12 rocket attack on Patrol Base Inchon that killed an interpreter. They were detained one kilometer from the attack site.

The same day, a patrol from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, detained two Iraqi men who tired to flee from a house being searched eight kilometers northwest of Yusufiyah.

Found in the house was a weapons cache consisting of two AK-47 assault rifles hidden in a tennis racket case, an SKS assault rifle, 50 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, a cell phone with foreign phone numbers programmed into it and a rocket-propelled grenade night sight.

Soldiers from Company B, 4-31, detained men near Rushdi Mullah yesterday. They were wanted for attacks against the Iraqi army, local civilians and coalition forces. The detainees are being held for questioning.

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

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