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American Forces Press Service

Forces Capture 59 Suspects During Recent Iraq Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2007 – Coalition and Iraqi forces detained 59 suspected insurgents during operations in Iraq since Aug. 31.

Forces detained 16 suspected terrorists during a combat-air-assault operation in Mahmudiyah yesterday. U.S. soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and Iraqi soldiers of the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, captured the suspects during Operation Eagle Chickmauga.

The operation targeted against Shiia extremist groups in the Mahmudiyah area. The combined forces questioned 59 Iraqis during a search of houses in the area. Only 16 were detained.

Coalition forces also responded to a truck bomb attack in the Chaka 5 region yesterday. As the vehicle attempted to enter the patrol base, Paratroopers of the 25th Infantry Division's Company C, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, engaged the vehicle with heavy machine gun fire, detonating the bomb.

The coalition patrol base took enemy mortar and small-arms fire immediately before the truck bomb attempted to enter. One paratrooper sustained minor injuries during the attack.

On Aug. 31, Task Force Marne Soldiers netted seven suspects during an air-assault raid in the Tigris River Valley southeast of Baghdad.

Helicopters from the Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division took soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, to the target by as part of Operation Marne Husky. This air-assault mission was the fourth in a series of air insertions dubbed Falcon Fury.

While the detainees were being held for questioning, four tested positive for explosives residue on their hands indicating they had recently handled explosives. Two others are being held for questioning were found to be in possession of illegal weapons.

Marne Husky is a combined air and ground campaign led by the Combat Aviation Brigade. The operation's goal is to disrupt the enemy's ability to stage spectacular attacks against coalition and Iraqi forces, said Army Lt. Col. Robert Wilson, executive officer, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade. It's designed to disrupt insurgents' ability to flee to the Tigris River Valley after Marne offensives in the Arab Jabour and Salman Pak areas.

"The targeted raids and the threat of future raids have
disrupted insurgent forces' patterns of life and operations," Wilson said. "We are denying them sanctuaries for planning, equipping and staging spectacular attacks against Coalition and Iraqi Forces."

The same day near Muqdadiyah, two companies from the 5th Iraqi Army detained 36 suspected al Qaeda terrorists and destroyed two weapons caches.

The suspected terrorists are linked to an Aug. 21 attack on 5th Iraqi Army soldiers, which left nine dead. Al Qaeda uses the villages in the Hamrin Ridge area as safe havens while conducting bomb attacks and smuggling weapons in the area.

Because of the large amount of weapons and explosives found in two houses and three nearby vehicles, forces conducted controlled detonations to destroy this cache.

Forces found a second cache containing 120 mm artillery rounds and called in close-air support, destroying the cache with fire from an F-16 fighter.

Additionally, forces seized four vehicles, a motorcycle, explosives, four rockets, anti-tank mines, artillery rounds, AK-47 assault rifles, radios and various propaganda documents.

In a separate mission, Iraqi security forces conducted an operation near Tal Afar resulting in the controlled detonation of a large cache of explosives and supplies allegedly belonging to al Qaeda terrorists.

The cache included mortar rounds, detonation cord, timed fuses, blasting caps, flares, radios, smoke grenades, TNT, and electrical wire.

U.S. Special Forces advised during both operations.

In Baghdad the same day, a Multinational Division Baghdad close-combat-support aircraft destroyed a mortar system on a rooftop in the Rashid district in a southwestern neighborhood of the Iraqi capital.

During a small-arms engagement, helicopters tracked a suspected insurgent to a home with a mortar system on the roof. After positively identifying the weapon, an Apache attack helicopter fired two missiles and roughly 30 rounds of 30 mm ammunition on the house destroying the system and damaging the structure. Nearby units reported secondary explosions.

The damaged tube was recovered.

In the house where the suspect fled, soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, found a sniper rifle, a machine gun, AK-47 assault rifles, a long-range scope and Iraqi army body armor.

Later in the day, soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, also seized a sniper rifle, a laptop, empty sniper rifle magazines, a belt of machine gun ammunition, scopes and a broken-down sniper rifle receiver and barrel.

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

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