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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Forces Disrupt Terrorist Elements in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2007 – Coalition forces killed two terrorists and detained 25 suspects today during operations designed to disrupt al Qaeda operations in central and northern Iraq.

-- Coalition forces killed a wanted terrorist believed to be an al Qaeda media cell leader south of Baqouba. As coalition forces moved to secure two targeted buildings, two men were seen maneuvering into the palm groves nearby. Perceiving hostile intent, forces engaged, killing both terrorists. One of the terrorists killed was later identified as the wanted individual. During the operation, the ground force discovered a large amount of al Qaeda propaganda materials. Coalition forces detained three suspects during the operation.

-- Coalition forces in Baghdad captured a wanted individual reportedly involved in numerous aspects of media and propaganda operations for al Qaeda. The wanted individual also is believed to be an associate of senior terrorist leaders in the region and a facilitator of terrorist operations. Coalition forces detained one other suspect without incident during the operation.

-- Forces captured a wanted individual believed to be a foreign terrorist facilitator east of Samarra. Reports indicate he also is involved with media and propaganda operations along the Tigris River Valley. Coalition forces detained three other suspects without incident. Also, targeting foreign terrorist facilitators, coalition forces detained six suspects north of the city.

-- Coalition troops detained four suspects while targeting foreign terrorist facilitators and associates of al Qaeda senior leaders in Haditha. During the operation, forces discovered a large amount of American money.

-- Forces targeted an associate of an al Qaeda member involved in kidnappings and assassinations with ties to senior terrorist members operating in Mosul. Four suspected terrorists were detained without incident.

-- Coalition forces targeted an al Qaeda cell leader in Kirkuk. Reports indicate the targeted individual was an associate of Abu Nahr, a former car-bombing cell leader, and terrorist facilitator Abu Harith, both of whom were killed during operations north of Hawija in November. The ground force detained two suspected terrorists, one of whom was hiding from coalition forces.

“Iraqi and coalition forces are continuing to pressure al Qaeda’s networks and drive them from their hiding places,” said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “This disruption to their operations reduces their ability to attack innocent Iraqis, but al Qaeda remains a threat to peace and stability, and we must remain vigilant.”

In other operations this week, coalition forces targeted an alleged associate of al Qaeda senior leaders involved in terrorist operations in Tarmiyah yesterday. The targeted individual is believed to also be responsible for logistics for Baghdad-based terrorist leaders. When coalition forces approached the target, they called for the individual to step out of the vehicle. The suspect complied and was detained. As the ground force began to clear the target area, a separate vehicle approached their position. Coalition forces fired warning shots to get the vehicle to stop, but it continued to speed toward them. A second set of warning shots was fired, but the driver again did not comply. Coalition forces engaged, wounding the four passengers inside the vehicle. The four individuals were evacuated to a military medical facility to receive treatment, but one died during transport.

“While progress is being made, Iraq is still a violent place beset by many challenges,” said Army Maj. Anton Alston, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “We regret when Iraqis are hurt or killed while coalition forces work diligently to rid this country of the terrorist networks that threaten the security of Iraq and our forces.”

Earlier, U.S. soldiers arrested seven individuals Dec. 1 believed to have terrorist ties in southern Baghdad. The force initially detained the suspects after getting positive identifications from area residents and Iraqi security volunteers. The seven are suspected of murder, working as informants and recruiters for al Qaeda and emplacing improvised explosive devices.

Also on Dec. 1, coalition forces detained two suspected criminals in the Khan Bani Said area, north of Baghdad. The targeted individual was reportedly a significant facilitator of explosively formed penetrators in the two areas. He also reportedly was an associate of several other senior-level criminal leaders involved in attacks on coalition forces. Intelligence led ground forces to the target area, where two suspected criminals were detained without incident. The identities of the two suspects and whether or not one of them may be the targeted individual are still being determined.

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

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