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American Forces Press Service

Iraqi, Coalition Forces Detain, Kill Numerous Terrorists; Find Weapons

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2007 – Iraqi and coalition forces killed and captured multiple suspected terrorists over the past three days, U.S. military officials reported.

Coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists possibly affiliated with the Iranian military in a raid today near the Iranian border. The men were secured from a rural farm compound before dawn, and a number of weapons were confiscated during the raid. The suspects may be associated with a network that has been smuggling explosives, weapons, people and money from Iran into Iraq, officials said.

“Coalition troops remain relentless in their pursuit of terrorists who smuggle deadly (explosives) and other lethal aid into Iraq to be used against coalition forces and innocent Iraqis,” Army Maj. Marc Young, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said.

Elsewhere in Iraq, coalition forces killed an armed terrorist and detained 14 other suspected terrorists during operations today targeting the al Qaeda in Iraq network.

Coalition forces conducted a raid north of Baghdad targeting an al Qaeda in Iraq emir and his associates. As ground forces began their operation, they received small-arms fire from the building they were entering and another nearby building. Coalition forces, acting in self-defense, returned fire. As the ground forces secured the area, they found an armed man who was killed in the engagement.

Coalition forces detained a suspected associate of the targeted individual. Both are allegedly involved with the Baghdad a car bomb-making network.

In Mosul, the al Qaeda in Iraq religious advisor for the city surrendered himself to coalition forces during an operation. The suspected terrorist is believed to have issued religious decrees regarding anti-coalition activity as part of his involvement with al Qaeda in Iraq. One other suspected terrorist was also detained.

During another raid in Mosul, coalition forces detained three suspected terrorists with alleged ties to the al Qaeda in Iraq emir of northern Iraq. A raid northeast of Fallujah netted five suspected terrorists who also have an alleged association with the al Qaeda in Iraq emir. During the operation, coalition forces also discovered a weapons cache containing rocket-propelled grenades.

Coalition forces also detained three suspected terrorists during a raid near Yusifiyah targeting a member of a local al Qaeda in Iraq cell.

“We aren’t slowing our operations to root out al Qaeda in Iraq," Young, said. “The people of Iraq deserve to be able to choose a future free of terrorists and their barbaric attacks.”

In addition, coalition forces detained 14 other suspected terrorists during operations targeting al Qaeda in Iraq networks in central and western Iraq yesterday.

North of Taji, coalition forces captured a suspected terrorist and three of his associates believed to facilitate the movement of al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders.

During coordinated raids north of Fallujah, coalition forces detained five individuals allegedly tied to a senior al Qaeda in Iraq figure in the Ramadi area who has orchestrated suicide and conventional attacks.

Coalition forces detained five suspected terrorists northeast of Balad during a raid targeting operatives in a Samarra-area network facilitating the movement of foreigners who participate in terrorist attacks.

Also, Iraqi and coalition forces detained 18 suspected terrorists during an operation yesterday targeting al Qaeda in Iraq operatives near the Um al-Qura mosque in Baghdad. In the pre-dawn operation based on credible intelligence, Iraqi and coalition forces arrived at the mosque complex to capture a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq member believed to be operating a terrorist media cell.

The Iraqi and coalition forces negotiated with gate guards, who allowed the ground forces access to the compound. Some guards told Iraqi and coalition forces they thought the ground forces had arrived because of all the al Qaeda members in the compound.

Neither Iraqi nor coalition forces entered the mosque itself, officials said.

The ground forces surrounded several outer buildings in the compound and secured them, capturing the targeted individual and 17 other suspected terrorists. During the operation, Iraqi and coalition forces found extremist propaganda and media materials.

“We do not enter mosques for the sole purpose of disrupting terrorist or conducting a show of force. Mosque entries occur only as a last resort, and only when substantial and credible evidence shows terrorist activity is occurring there, like the harboring of terrorist leaders. In this case, we didn't need to enter the mosque itself," Young said. “Coalition forces have great respect for Muslim religious sites and take extensive measures to treat those sites with care.”

Iraqi soldiers and coalition forces also detained a former Iraqi official allegedly linked to al Qaeda. Soldiers from the 5th Division of the Iraqi army, with U.S. special operations forces as advisors, detained a former mayor and current city council member in Sadiyah on July 20.

Iraqi and coalition forces raided a residence in Diyala province and detained their primary target without incident.

Intelligence reports indicate the detainee is linked to al Qaeda in Iraq and to kidnappings, murders and extortion in Diyala province as a means to exert pressure and influence on local sheiks.

The suspect reportedly was involved in a car-bomb attack that killed 19 civilians. Reports indicate that he openly discredits the government of Iraq and its efforts to bring stability in the region.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured in the operation.

Also, an Iraqi emergency response unit, with coalition forces present as advisors, detained three suspected members of a rogue militia group during an early morning operation in Sadr City on July 20.

Two of the detainees are brothers who allegedly have conducted attacks on Iraqi and coalition forces, while the third, a woman, is suspected of holding militia group meetings at her house.

Iraqi and coalition forces raided two residences in the northwestern neighborhood of Baghdad. At one location, Iraqi and coalition forces detained the woman, while another team detained the two brothers at the second house.

The primary targets of this operation allegedly are responsible for kidnappings and killings of Iraqi citizens. They have also allegedly been involved in attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces, officials said.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured in the operation.

Also on July 20, coalition forces came under small-arms fire while operating near Hussayniyah. Coalition forces returned fire and attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged the hostile forces.

Three of the gunmen then fled to another nearby structure. Coalition attack aircraft targeted structure with precision munitions and observed at least seven secondary explosions, possibly caused by explosives and munitions stored inside.

Iraqi police inspected both sites and reported six people killed and five wounded. The wounded were transported to a medical facility for treatment.

In addition, Iraqi Army and coalition forces detained a suspected al Qaeda cell leader near Taji.

Iraqi army forces, with coalition forces as advisors, conducted a helicopter assault raid July 20 detaining a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq leader suspected of numerous crimes including a recent attack that destroyed a bridge on a primary Iraqi transportation route.

Iraqi soldiers detained their primary suspect without incident in a remote area northwest of Taji.

The detained individual is the suspected leader of an al Qaeda cell in the Qaryat al Majarrah region and recently claimed responsibility for a May 27 suicide truck-bomb attack that destroyed the a key bridge over the Danat Nazim al Majarrah Canal, a main Iraqi supply route in the Habbaniyah area.

He also allegedly is responsible for facilitating foreign fighters and the planning and execution of multiple bomb attacks in Ramadi and other areas. The insurgent leader and his cell are also suspected of murdering and intimidating Iraqi citizens, conducting oil smuggling operations, and committing a string of highway robberies in an effort to fund al Qaeda activities.

In a separate operation, two other individuals with suspected links to terrorist groups were detained during an operation outside Karmah. Iraqi and coalition forces also seized a large quantity of materials for making bombs. The materials were destroyed with a controlled detonation in a safe area after ensuring all civilians were moved a safe distance away during the detonation.

No Iraqi or U.S. forces were injured during this operation.

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

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