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American Forces Press Service

U.S. Troops Nab Terrorists, Weapons Caches in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2007 – American forces in Iraq have captured terrorists and weapons caches during a series of raids over the past two days, officials reported today.

Three suspected terrorists were detained by U.S. forces during a pre-dawn raid in Aamel today. The aim of the raid was to capture or kill Jaysh al-Mahdi rogue terrorists, known as “special groups.” These extremists are suspected of facilitating the flow of explosively formed projectiles and other ordnance into Iraq from Iran. U.S. troops confiscated pistols, military equipment, fake identification and other documents, officials said.

“Coalition troops continue to target the terrorists who bring EFPs and other lethal aid into Iraq,” said Maj. Marc Young, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “We remain committed to dismantling terror networks that seek to kill innocent Iraqis and coalition forces.”

In other operations, coalition troops detained 12 suspected al Qaeda terrorists during operations today and yesterday, targeting extremist agents operating in central and western Iraq, officials said.

-- A raid in Baghdad today netted five suspected terrorists allegedly tied to the leader of a car-bomb network that supplies bomb components and vehicles to terrorists.

-- Also today, U.S. troops detained four suspected terrorists during two coordinated raids east of Ramadi, Iraq, today, while targeting associates of a Syrian who facilitates the movement of foreign terrorists into Iraq.

-- U.S. troops today detained one suspected terrorist during a raid conducted northeast of Fallujah, Iraq, officials reported. The detainee allegedly worked with an al Qaeda in Iraq media cell member with access to high-level extremist communications.

-- U.S. troops captured the alleged leader of a car-bomb cell in Baghdad yesterday. Intelligence reports also indicate the suspected terrorist was being considered for a higher position within the al Qaeda in Iraq network.

-- Another suspected terrorist allegedly tied to al Qaeda in Iraq surrendered to U.S. troops during a raid north of Taji yesterday. The detainee is thought to have worked with three terrorists that were killed during a U.S. operation July 17.

In other news, Iraqi and U.S. forces yesterday conducted operations in the eastern part of Baqubah, known as Old Baqubah, as part of ongoing Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

Soldiers from 5th Iraqi Army Division, along with the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, and 1-12 Combined Arms Battalion made several arrests and discovered several weapons caches as they moved through the neighborhood.

While clearing the neighborhood, soldiers discovered multiple weapons caches containing AK-47 rifles, AK-47 magazines, and a rocket-propelled grenade. Since the start of Arrowhead Ripper, at least 67 al Qaeda operatives have been killed, 253 have been detained, 63 weapons caches have been discovered, 151 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed and 24 booby-trapped structures have been destroyed.

Elsewhere yesterday, Iraqi informants led U.S. troops to three significant caches located north of Rushdi Mullah. Soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), out of Fort Drum, N.Y., helped seize the caches just 20 miles south of Baghdad. All three caches were found buried in 55-gallon drums within 100 meters of one another.

U.S. soldiers detained five suspected militia members during a combined operation with Iraqi security forces in central Baghdad on July 17.

Soldiers from Troop C, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, working with Iraqi troops from 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, conducted searches of targeted homes in central Baghdad’s Karkh district, detaining five suspected militia members.

The targets had been involved in kidnapping, murder and attacks on coalition forces, said platoon leader Army Capt. Courtney Dean. Tips from community residents provided information to go after the militia members, he said.

(Information compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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