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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Forces Kill, Detain Terrorists; Find, Destroy Weapons Caches

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2007 – Iraqi security forces and coalition troops have killed four terrorists, detained 21 suspected terrorists and uncovered bomb-making materials and weapons caches during the past three days, military officials reported.

During two coordinated raids on Baghdad’s west side today, coalition forces targeted a senior al Qaeda in Iraq operative believed to facilitate the movement of foreign terrorists for suicide-bombing operations by providing fake documents, officials said. The ground forces detained seven suspected terrorists during the operation.

Meanwhile, in southwestern Baghdad, coalition forces targeted a terrorist cell leader allegedly involved in car bomb attacks against the Iraqi army, Iraqi police and coalition forces. Coalition forces detained three individuals for their suspected ties to the cell leader, according to officials.

“Eradicating the bomb network in Baghdad is a high priority for us,” said Maj. Marc Young, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “The people of Iraq deserve a future free of murderous bombings and attacks.”

In eastern Baghdad yesterday, 12 Iraqi army troops and 11 local residents were wounded when a suicide car bomb detonated at a checkpoint, officials said. Two Iraqi army vehicles also were destroyed in the blast.

Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, cordoned off the area. The wounded were transported to a medical facility for treatment. The suicide bomber was the only fatality on the attack, officials said.

During other operations yesterday, coalition forces targeted an al Qaeda in Iraq leader suspected of facilitating the movement of foreign terrorists near Khan Bani Saad.

When coalition forces approached the targeted building, they encountered an armed man in a military-style assault vest who drew his weapon on the ground forces, officials said. Responding in self-defense, coalition forces engaged the armed man, killing him.

As coalition forces left the area, several terrorists engaged them with heavy machine guns. Coalition forces called in close-air support to engage the armed men. Three terrorists were killed, and two heavy machine guns were destroyed in the air strike, officials said.

In Hit, coalition forces captured an alleged senior member of the al Qaeda in Iraq organization, officials reported. The individual is suspected of collecting information on Iraqi police, coalition forces and civilians for reports to the al Qaeda in Iraq emir of the area. One other suspected terrorist was detained.

A coalition operation in Mosul netted seven suspected terrorists when the ground forces raided two buildings targeting associates of known al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders, officials said.

“We’re continuing to chip away at the senior leadership and low-level operatives involved in al Qaeda in Iraq,” Young said. “The Iraqi people have made it clear that terrorist groups are unwanted and unwelcome in Iraq.”

In Mosul yesterday, Iraqi army soldiers and Mosul police discovered an improvised explosives device factory and cache, officials said.

Soldiers from the 2nd Iraqi Army Division in coordination with Iraqi police officers found some 10,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and other bomb-making materials in a complex that included a building, a warehouse and a storage container. They also discovered a tunnel system connecting all of the buildings, officials said.

Also near Mosul, coalition forces soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, discovered a weapons cache containing homemade explosives and mortar rounds. In addition, the soldiers found a military-grade bunker system nearby that had been used as an insurgent safe house, officials reported.

Precision-guided munitions destroyed all three sites.

In a series of weapons cache finds July 4-6, Marines from Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, discovered more than 17,000 kilograms of explosives northeast of Thar Thar Dam, officials said.

-- A homemade explosives factory and nearby weapons cache found July 6 contained more than 6,000 kilograms of homemade explosives, 8,000 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, and equipment to mix, manufacture and transport large quantities of the explosives, officials said.

-- Meanwhile, three separate weapons caches found July 5 north of Karmah contained nearly 10,000 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, approximately 30 kilograms of nitric acid, 250 kilograms of chlorine and 3,500 kilograms of fertilizer, officials said.

-- A cache uncovered July 4 by Marines from Weapons Company contained 4.5 kilograms of homemade explosives, 12 155 mm projectiles, eight 120 mm mortars, 4,700 14.5 mm rounds and an assortment of other weapons and ammunition.

The cache containing the nitric acid, homemade explosives and chlorine was destroyed by an F/A-18 Hornet air strike. Combat Logistics Battalion 13 Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams destroyed all remaining caches, officials said.

Elsewhere, residents of a village south of Baghdad led soldiers of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) to a series of major weapons caches July 6, officials reported.

A local man who claimed to have knowledge of a large cache complex approached a patrol and walked the soldiers from site to site, pointing out each cache. He then took the patrol to two men, who he said were responsible for collecting and hiding the weapons, officials said. The six caches contained an assortment of weapons, rounds and explosives, including a rocket-propelled grenade-launching kit, homemade explosives, blasting caps, mortar shells and a 107 mm rocket.

Explosive ordnance disposal teams destroyed the explosives, and several other items were seized for further examination, officials reported.

Officials said the area where the caches were found is approximately 1 kilometer from the site of the May 12 attack in which four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi soldier were killed and three U.S. soldiers were captured. One of the soldiers was later found dead in the Euphrates River; the remaining two are officially listed as “missing-captured.”

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

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