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American Forces Press Service

Troops Capture Insurgents, Find Mortars in Iraq; Eight Soldiers Wounded

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2007 – Coalition forces detained 22 suspects, uncovered an enemy mortar system, and suffered eight non-lethal combat casualties in Iraq over the past three days, military officials reported.

In raids targeting the al Qaeda network this morning, coalition forces detained 18 suspected terrorists. Intelligence used to locate the suspects was based on information gained from previous successful operations, officials said.

Coalition forces raided four buildings associated with al Qaeda northeast of Fallujah this morning, rounding up 13 suspected terrorists. Military officials said the suspects have alleged ties to a cell that carries out car-bomb, sniper, and mortar attacks against coalition forces, and Iraqi civilians and infrastructure.

In Mosul today, coalition forces raided two buildings and detained two suspected terrorists, including the alleged assistant to a senior terrorist leader who was captured May 29.

Coalition forces captured an alleged key leader in the Rusafa car-bomb network and a suspected al Qaeda terrorist north of Taji this morning. Troops also captured an alleged al Qaeda facility manager who operates a safe house southwest of Tarmiyah, military officials said.

“Our continuing operations are frustrating al Qaeda in Iraq's ability to operate,” said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “We are targeting them, detaining them, and they in turn are giving us information to disrupt the networks further.”

In the Iraqi capital today, coalition forces nabbed four suspected terrorists, including one suspected terror cell leader during raids in northeast Baghdad. The suspected leader, who allegedly is involved in planning attack logistics and distributing small arms, suffered minor injuries during the operation and was transported to a military medical facility for treatment.

Military officials believe the suspects are members of a secret terror cell responsible for moving weapons and explosively formed penetrators from Iran to Iraq. The cell allegedly brings militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.

“Coalition forces continue to break apart the terrorist networks that attempt to bring instability to Iraq and inflict continued violence on the Iraqi people,” Garver said.

In eastern Baghdad on June 3, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers uncovered a 60 mm mortar system thanks to a tip from a local resident.

The resident from the eastern Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City approached paratroopers from 82nd Airborne Division’s 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment and told them location of a mortar system he discovered in the back of a truck and subsequently took and hid. Following the lead, paratroopers searched the area and confirmed the resident’s report, uncovering the mortar system.

“We suspect that this mortar system was used in attacks on coalition outposts, based on the location and point of origin site in which it was found,” said Army Lt. Col. David Oclander, the executive officer for the unit’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Oclander said this event is evidence that paratroopers in the area are building trust with Sadr City residents.

“Risking his own personal security, this man took action to get weapons used by criminal militias off the streets,” he said. “(This is) a great example of how Iraqi citizens are working to take action in securing their neighborhoods.”

Near Baghdad that same day, a complex attack wounded eight U.S. soldiers at a patrol base southeast of the Iraqi capital. The attack, involving a car bomb, small arms and mortar fire, was countered with coalition aviation, ground force and unmanned aerial vehicle attacks.

The names of the wounded are being withheld pending notification of next of kin, military officials said.

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

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