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American Forces Press Service

ARROWHEAD RIPPER: Troops Find Execution House, Illegal Prison in Baqubah

American Forces Press Service

BAQUBAH, Iraq, June 25, 2007 – Iraqi security forces and Task Force Lightning soldiers discovered an execution house and an illegal prison in the Baqubah neighborhood of Khatoon yesterday during the sixth day of Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

The two buildings were in the same area as a torture chamber and illegal courthouse linked to al Qaeda, which were found on the fourth and fifth day of the operation, officials said.

Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, discovered the execution house using information from local citizens, who said it had been used by al Qaeda. Soldiers searching the house found five bodies buried in the yard behind the building and bloody clothes in several rooms inside it.

Located nearby, a house had been converted into an illegal prison, with several numbered rooms and bars covering the building's windows. Several blindfolds were found inside.

Elsewhere in Baqubah, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, identified a house that was filled with explosives and had been booby-trapped. The soldiers cleared the area and destroyed the house through the use of attack aircraft and indirect fire.

"The fact that we continue to find these booby-trapped houses filled with explosives and torture chambers only reaffirms that al Qaeda has no regard for the safety and welfare of the people of Baqubah. They only want to see death and destruction," said Army Col. Gary Patton, chief of staff for Task Force Lightning.

Iraqi and coalition forces also discovered 10 weapons caches throughout Baqubah yesterday. These included four anti-tank mines, three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 18 rocket-propelled grenades with boosters, 13 AK-47 assault rifles, nine hand grenades, two flak vests, thousands of rounds of ammunition and a box of al Qaeda propaganda.

Since the beginning of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, at least 58 al Qaeda operatives have been killed, 60 have been detained, 23 weapons caches have been discovered, 52 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed, and 17 booby-trapped structures have been destroyed.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

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