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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Troops Net 17 Terrorists During Iraq Operations

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2007 – Coalition forces detained 17 suspected terrorists today during a series of operations that targeted al Qaeda networks in central and northern Iraq.

-- Coalition forces captured three terrorist suspects in Tikrit. Intelligence links one of the detainees to the movement of weapons originating from outside of the country to throughout the Tigris River Valley.

-- In Ramadi, coalition forces captured a wanted individual along with four other suspected terrorists with connections to Syrian-based extremists. Officials said intelligence indicates the wanted suspect was connected to a senior terrorist named Muthanna, who was killed during operations Sept. 11 near Sinjar, in northwestern Iraq. Upon securing the target building, ground forces discovered possible bomb-making material and some Iraqi police uniforms.

-- In Baqouba, a wanted individual surrendered to coalition forces as they were conducting an anti-insurgent operation. The detainee is linked to the al Qaeda in Iraq terror network. Two other suspects also were detained during the operation.

-- Another wanted individual was captured during a coalition operation in Mosul. The detainee is linked to al Qaeda operations in northern Iraq. Three other suspected terrorists were detained in the operation.

-- In Baghdad, coalition forces captured a wanted individual believed to be the newly appointed leader of a local al Qaeda cell operating in the southern part of the city. The city’s car-bombing network has been attempting to reestablish operations after significant degradation by Coalition forces in recent weeks including the Oct. 16 capture of the wanted individual and two additional suspects during an operation in southern Baghdad.

“Al Qaeda still attempts to terrorize the Iraqi people in many areas,” said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “There is still more work to be done, but through successful operations like these, they are losing their grip.”

In other news yesterday, a truck-mounted bomb explosion killed three Iraqi police officers and injured 12 other people in Mosul’s Sukar neighborhood. The exploding tanker truck caused damage to the front gate of an Iraqi police station and some nearby homes. The truck driver was killed in the explosion.

“This is another cowardly attempt by enemy fighters to strike out against the very individuals who are working for the people and for a more secure Iraq,” said Army Col. Stephen Twitty, commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “Their actions in targeting the Iraqi police are part of an effort to divide the people and to discredit the functioning Iraqi government. The Iraqi people here will not let that happen.”

In other recent operations, a coalition air strike destroyed a Diyala River bridge that connects Diyala province to Baghdad to disrupt weapons smugglers and insurgent movement. The bridge, believed to have been built by insurgents to smuggle munitions, was destroyed as part of Operation Marne Anvil, officials said.

Elsewhere, reconciliation between Iraqis and unity against insurgents were the main themes of a meeting between senior Iraqi army officials and tribal leaders in the Rusafa district of eastern Baghdad. More than 500 residents attended a pre-meeting rally Zubaida Square, where music played, leaders passed out candy, and residents chanted anti-insurgent slogans. The meeting and rally were sponsored by the Iraqi security forces.

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

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