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American Forces Press Service

Seven Iraqis Escape Makeshift Prison, 11 Terrorists Detained

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2007 – Seven Iraqi citizens found their way to a coalition patrol base near Khan Ban Sa’ad, Iraq, yesterday after escaping a makeshift prison, military officials reported.

The alleged captors were linked to an earlier operation yesterday when attack helicopters patrolling the area observed three individuals moving in a tactical formation through a ditch. Coalition forces positively identified the individuals as hostile enemy forces and fired on their position, killing all three.

The escapees identified the remains of the three individuals as their captors and led coalition ground forces to the makeshift prison, officials said.

Inside the makeshift prison, coalition forces found eight bodies believed to be of both the Sunni and Shia sects, which the escapees identified as fellow prisoners. Each of the dead prisoners had gunshot wounds to the head and showed obvious signs of torture, according to officials.

The remains of the dead prisoners were turned over to Iraqi police. The seven escapees, who also showed signs of torture, were taken to an Iraqi clinic for treatment.

In other operations this week:

– Iraqi army forces, with U.S. Special Forces acting as advisors, detained two leaders of the rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi militia during two operations Aug. 24 in Baghdad and in Taji. The individual targeted during the Baghdad raid is believed to be responsible for directing a criminal network of individuals who routinely attack Iraqi and coalition forces with improvised explosive devices and explosively formed projectiles in the New Baghdad area. In the second operation, members from the Iraqi Army 9th Division Reconnaisance team detained a Jaysh al-Mahdi company commander Aug. 24 in Taji.

– Iraqi security and Iraqi army forces, with U.S. Special Forces acting as advisors, detained two key al Qaeda in Iraq leaders and seven other suspected terrorists in two separate operations Aug. 24 in Baghdad and in the Za’ab Triangle. In the Baghdad operation, forces detained an emir believed to be responsible for leading a cell that launches attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces with improvised explosive devices. An intelligence officer of al Qaeda in Iraq captured during the same operation reportedly collects names of Iraqi security forces personnel and targets them for assassination. During the second operation, Iraqi army forces conducted a successful air assault raid and detained seven suspected members of an al Qaeda in Iraq cell operating in the village of Jarnaf Gharbi.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula news releases.)

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