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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Forces Nab 15 Terrorists in Iraq Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2007 – Coalition forces detained 15 suspected terrorists during operations today targeting al Qaeda leaders and their networks in the northern part of Iraq.

Coalition forces in Mosul captured two wanted individuals believed to be finalizing plans for an attack on the Mosul airfield during Ramadan. The two also are suspected of conducting attacks against coalition forces.

Forces captured a mortar expert near the Syrian border wanted for his suspected involvement in August attacks on Kurdish government buildings in Sinjar. The ground forces detained six other suspected terrorists during the raid and discovered a cache of weapons, including machine guns and vehicle mounts. After clearing civilians from the area, coalition forces called in an air strike to destroy the cache.

Iraqi and coalition forces captured a suspected terrorist in Kirkuk wanted for his ties to senior al Qaeda leaders. The ground forces also detained five other suspects during the raid.

"Al Qaeda in Iraq has tried to move its operations and avoid the pressure we're putting on them, but there's no safe haven for terrorists in Iraq," said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "We will continue to attack their network, no matter where their operatives hide."

In other operations today:

-- Coalition forces raided several buildings southeast of Baqubah during an operation targeting an al Qaeda senior leader in the area. When one man refused to follow the interpreter's instructions and moved to retrieve a weapon, coalition forces engaged and killed the man. The ground forces detained two suspected terrorists during the raid and found weapons and military-style assault vests.

-- In Tikrit, ground forces captured an individual believed to operate a car-bombing cell and allegedly associated with Haytham Sabah al-Badri, the mastermind behind the Samarra Golden Mosque bombing, who was killed in a coalition operation Aug. 2.

-- North of Taji, coalition forces captured a suspected car-bombing operative from the Baghdad network. Four additional suspected terrorists were detained in the operation.

-- Coalition forces further disrupted the Baghdad terrorist network when they detained five suspected terrorists during an operation targeting foreign terrorist facilitators on the south side of the city.

"Our operations will continue to target both terrorist leaders and their operatives," Danielson said. "We want to ensure al Qaeda in Iraq remains unable to recover from the damage inflicted by coalition and Iraqi security forces."

In operations earlier this week:

-- In an operation yesterday in Taji, Iraqi special operations forces detained a Shiia extremist suspected of using his position in the Ministry of Interior to kidnap and murder Sunni citizens in the Jihad area of Baghdad. The suspected terrorist cell he operates is allegedly responsible for bombing and mortar attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in addition to innocent citizens who stand against the group's criminal activities. Four AK-47 rifles, a submachine gun, two pistols, a machine gun, and computer equipment were seized while four other individuals, suspected of being linked to his cell, were detained.

-- During an operation Sept. 10, members of 9th Iraqi Army Division targeted individuals who are suspected of participating in bombing attacks against civilians, and Iraqi and coalition forces. One suspected terrorist is a known facilitator and manufacturer of car bombs, while another extremist allegedly supplies weapons to an al Qaeda cell in Taji. Nine AK-47 rifles with 11 loaded magazines, an anti-aircraft machine gun with a belt of ammunition, and a hand-held machine gun were seized during the raid.

-- Soldiers with 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team captured 16 suspected insurgents during a raid Sept. 10 in the Rusafa district of eastern Baghdad.

-- Coalition forces captured an individual northeast of Baghdad on Sept. 10 who is believed to be an al Qaeda leader responsible for attacks on coalition and Iraqi security forces in an area south of Baqubah. Coalition forces responded to the hostile threats of 12 men in the targeted building, killing them. Eight suspected terrorists, including the target individual, were detained during the operation.

-- Using information from an earlier operation, coalition forces near Samarra on Sept. 10 captured a suspected al Qaeda member believed to be responsible for attacks against coalition forces. They also detained four other suspected terrorists.

-- An air assault mission south of Baghdad on Sept. 10 led to the detention of three suspected militants being detained after they were discovered with explosives. The mission, dubbed Operation Falcon Fury, was led by 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade's attack and assault elements and supported on the ground by soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

"This intelligence-driven operation was designed to disrupt enemy forces in their perceived safe havens," said Army Lt. Col. Robert E. Wilson, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade’s executive officer. "The air assault methodology is ideally suited for combining our aerial capabilities with a top-notch and dynamically led infantry company to keep the enemy guessing as to the Marne Division's next move."

Elsewhere, Iraqi and coalition forces operating in Kirkuk captured an alleged terrorist facilitator who brought foreign suicide bombers into Iraq for a car-bombing cell in Hawijah. Intelligence reports also indicate the individual used his iron-working shop to make bombs. Along with the alleged facilitator, Iraqi and coalition forces detained three more suspected terrorists.

“We are continuing to aggressively assault the al Qaeda in Iraq networks that attack Iraqis and the security forces that protect them,” Danielson said.

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

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