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American Forces Press Service

Forces Rescue Kidnapped Sheiks in Northern Baghdad

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2007 – Seven sheiks kidnapped in northern Baghdad two days ago were rescued by soldiers from 9th Iraqi Army Division during a mission yesterday.

The mission, supported by U.S. military advisors and soldiers from both 82nd Airborne Division and 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, resulted in the sheiks’ rescue, the capture of four abductors and the death of three extremists. The body of an eighth sheik also was discovered at the scene.

The sheiks were taken to a nearby Iraqi army facility, where they received medical attention. Several said they had been beaten with a tire iron. The sheiks also said that they have no doubt that their abductors were Shiite extremists.

"The execution of this mission shows how far Iraqi security forces have come," said Army Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, deputy commanding general for maneuver for Multinational Division Baghdad. "The 9th Iraqi Army, led by General Riyadh, reacted very quickly to intelligence they received. They planned and then organized their forces, and executed a tough and precise mission with support from the coalition. They are well on their way to being the pre-eminent security force for the people of Iraq."

In other operations in Iraq yesterday:

-- Coalition forces south of Baghdad targeted an alleged terrorist cell leader believed to be involved in attacks against coalition forces in the Arab Jabour area. As the forces began to clear the target area, they saw four armed men maneuver into a ditch. The soldiers were engaged by enemy fire from two separate locations, then killed one terrorist believed to be the targeted individual. Supporting aircraft killed another armed terrorist. Coalition forces tracking the remaining armed men engaged and killed one. While clearing the area, the ground force killed another hostile individual. They also detained three suspects.

-- Coalition forces in Mosul captured a wanted individual believed to be involved in terrorist activity in the city. The suspect allegedly was attempting to recruit Iraqi army intelligence officers to gain information on Iraqis working with coalition forces. Reports led the ground force to the wanted individual’s exact location, where he and one other suspect, believed to be his brother, were detained.

-- Coalition forces northwest of Tarmiyah detained three suspects while they targeted an alleged terrorist media cell member involved in mailings, Internet postings and propaganda distribution. Intelligence information indicates the targeted individual is part of a group that records and reports terrorist operations near Tarmiyah. Past reporting indicates that the targeted individual also serves as a courier for the leader of the northern belt terrorist network. The network is believed to be involved in improvised-explosive-device and car-bombing attacks, foreign terrorist facilitation, extortion, intimidation, and weapons trafficking.

-- In two coordinated operations near Kirkuk and in Beiji, coalition forces targeted an individual believed to be the terrorist leader for the city. The targeted individual reportedly has a long history of involvement in al Qaeda and has numerous connections to senior terrorist leaders. In addition, the individual reportedly makes frequent trips to Mosul, coordinating terrorist operations and attacks in Kirkuk. The ground force detained eight suspects southwest of Kirkuk and one additional suspect in Beiji.

-- Iraqi soldiers with U.S. forces advising conducted two separate raids in Fallujah and Tal Afar, detaining four people. In the first operation near Fallujah, the assault force detained two suspected terrorists believed to be leaders of an insurgent group responsible for kidnappings and executions in Nasser Wa Salaam. The suspected terrorists also are thought to be responsible for conducting surveillance operations on members of the Iraqi police and local citizens and conducting IED attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces. Two more people were detained by the Iraqi army and Iraqi security forces during a raid in Tal Afar. Besides the detained suspects, a stolen truck and 350 cases of illegally smuggled cigarettes were recovered.

“These operations demonstrate that we’re not waiting for al Qaeda to strike; we’re going after the terrorists where they hide,” said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “We will continue targeting them to diminish their ability to attack the Iraqis people and their elected government.”

In operations earlier this week:

-- Based on a resident’s tip, Iraqi national police discovered a weapons cache in the southeastern district of New Baghdad in the Iraqi capital Oct. 28. The tip led the policemen to discover eight 80 mm mortar rockets, seven 60 mm mortar rockets, nine rocket-propelled-grenade rounds with three launchers, one explosively formed projectile, three grenades, one mortar tube with base plate and tripod, 300 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, two sets of body armor, and copper wire. "Tips from local residents demonstrate the ongoing positive relationship between the (national police) and the trust they are gaining from the populace. It is a great day any time a tip leads to a cache," said Army Col. Jeffrey Bannister, commander of 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. "The Iraqis realize by reporting the cache, they are saving Iraqi lives and helping to clean up the streets for their children."

-- Iraqi army soldiers discovered a weapons cache in Hawr Rajab on Oct. 27. The soldiers found the cache independently, working off a tip from coalition forces in the area. A security platoon found 21 60 mm mortars, seven 107 mm rockets, four improvised-explosive-device triggers, four fabricated rocket stands, six mortar fuses, and two Iraqi army uniforms.

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

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