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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Troops Kill, Detain Dozens, Seize Weapons in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2007 – Coalition and Iraqi forces killed and captured dozens of insurgents and seized scores of weapons during operations in Iraq over the past three days, military officials said.

Combined forces killed eight terrorists and detained 11 suspects during raids today targeting al Qaeda leaders and their networks in central and northern Iraq.

During operations southeast of Kirkuk, coalition forces targeted a regional terrorist unit commander, also referred to as an “emir,” and one of his operatives, both of whom are believed to facilitate the movement of foreign terrorists in Iraq, military officials said. As the assault force approached the target site, troops observed the two armed men in tactical fighting positions poised to attack.

Coalition forces called for close-air support, which engaged the two armed terrorists, killing them. Once the assault force was at the target location, four armed men attempted to maneuver around them into tactical positions, but coalition forces engaged and killed them using fire from the supporting aircraft. Ground forces surveyed the area and found weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, an RPG sight and a suicide vest. An explosives team safely destroyed the materials on site.

During two coordinated operations at the border of Salah ad Din and Tamim, northeast of Tikrit, troops targeted a senior-level al Qaeda advisor operating in the Kirkuk area. The targeted individual is believed to be tied to the international terrorist Khalid al Turki, who was killed in an operation June 23, and several other al Qaeda leaders in the area, military officials said.

As coalition forces arrived at the first location, they received small-arms fire from a nearby rooftop. Troops responded to the enemy fire, calling for close-air support to engage and kill two armed men identified on the roof.

When coalition forces secured the building, they discovered two women and a boy who were injured in the engagement. The assault force treated the three civilians and transported them to a military medical facility for further treatment. Troops detained six suspects during the operation. At the second location, coalition forces detained two additional suspects with alleged ties to the al Qaeda advisor.

During a raid in southern Baghdad, troops targeted al Qaeda leaders associated with a car-bomb network that operates in the Iraqi capital. Ground forces captured three alleged members of the cell with ties to both its current leader and a suspected former leader detained in an operation May 5, military officials said.

“We continue to seek out terrorists wherever they hide, to diminish their ability to attack the Iraqi people,” said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “We work very hard to avoid injuring innocent bystanders and provide immediate medical care if we do.”

In a separate raid this morning, Iraqi and coalition forces captured a highly sought weapons facilitator before dawn in Baghdad, military officials said. Combined forces captured the suspected senior weapons distributor, who allegedly is connected to a network of “special groups” that receive arms -- including explosively formed penetrators, the most deadly form of improvised explosive device -- and funding from Iran. The suspect, who allegedly is linked to senior terrorist commanders, is responsible for distributing such Iranian weapons and other forms of lethal aide across the Iran-Iraq border, military officials said.

During the raid, troops detained two others who are suspected of distributing weapons smuggled into Iraq from Iran. Coalition forces confiscated money and identification documents from one of the targeted buildings for further analysis and evaluation.

“We assess that this capture will degrade the weapons smuggling network,” Garver said. “Coalition forces will continue their focused operations to interdict Iranian supported terror groups operating in Iraq.

“We remain committed to dismantling terror networks that seek to kill innocent Iraqis, Iraqi security forces, and coalition forces,” he added.

During operations in Iraq yesterday:

-- Iraqi and coalition forces launched "Operation Church," an air and ground operation in Diyala province aimed at clearing out insurgents and reopening the Khalis spillway, which regulates water flow to the town. Troops killed 33 armed insurgents, nabbed three others and seized three weapons caches. Water currently is flowing unimpeded to Khalis, military officials said.

-- Iraqi army scouts and U.S. Special Forces advisors detained a suspected terrorist cell leader near Tikrit. The suspect is believed to be responsible for a May 13 suicide-car-bomb attack on the Kurdish political headquarters in Makmoor, a Feb. 13, 2005, attack that killed three Iraqi National Guard members, the June 16, 2004, assassination of a sheik in northern Heychel, and the May 14, 2004, assassination of Ninewa province’s governor, military officials said.

-- Iraqi special operations forces and U.S. Special Forces advisors detained a battalion commander of the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia and one suspected insurgent during an operation in Baghdad. The suspect allegedly directs a group that targets Iraqi citizens and he also maintains connections to insurgents in the Hayani area, Baghdad and Basrah, military officials said.

-- During four raids across Iraq, coalition soldiers seized weapons caches that included stockpiles of improvised explosive devices, mortars, a grenade launcher and ammo, and an explosively formed penetrator. Military officials said the recovered weapons demonstrate to neighborhood residents that coalition and Iraqi security forces are there to protect them.

In Iraq on Aug. 26:

-- Iraqi security forces repelled a series of attempted insurgent attacks in Nineveh province, killing five armed combatants and detaining two suspects. Iraqi troops also destroyed five car bombs and seized small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

-- Soldiers with 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team nabbed three suspected insurgents while patrolling eastern Baghdad’s Rusafa district. Troops were monitoring the Gailany gas station, where 20 insurgents had attempted to steal gasoline earlier in the day, when soldiers discovered three men attempting to hide firearms, including a locked and loaded pistol. Troops seized the weapons and detained the suspects, who are being held for further questioning, military officials said.

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

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