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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Troops Kill Six, Seize 29 Suspected Terrorists in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2007 – Coalition forces killed six suspected terrorists, detained 29 others and destroyed five weapons caches in Iraq over the past five days, military officials said.

During operations in Iraq yesterday:

-- Coalition forces killed four suspected terrorists north of Muqdadiyah. Two of the slain insurgents died while attempting to mount suicide-bomb attacks against coalition troops, military officials said. Coalition air support engaged and killed the two others as they attacked ground forces from inside a suspected terrorist safe house.

-- Troops killed one insurgent and detained four others in Mosul during an operation targeting an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq leader. Military officials have not stated whether troops killed or detained the targeted suspect, who allegedly helps al Qaeda cell leaders obtain weapons and improvised explosive device-making materials.

-- Coalition forces detained 15 suspected terrorists during coordinated operations southeast of Samarra. The synchronized raids targeted associates of al Qaeda senior leaders operating in Samarra and Salahuddin, military officials said.

-- Near Mahmudiyah, coalition troops killed an al Qaeda member with ties to senior leaders in the terrorist network’s Baghdad cell. Troops engaged and killed the wanted individual when he advanced toward the ground force's position and failed to stop, military officials said. Coalition forces detained one suspect on site.

On Dec. 15, Iraqi army and coalition forces launched “Marne Roundup,” an operation focused on flushing out al Qaeda extremists and weapons smugglers operating near Iskandariyah.

Marne Roundup is designed to defeat al Qaeda in northern Babil by denying them sanctuary and escape routes, Army Col. Thomas James, commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, told reporters during a Dec. 9 news conference. “The plan is designed to catch them as they egress,” he added.

The operation is the latest in a series of combat offensives launched by Multinational Division Center soldiers to squeeze al Qaeda from areas south and west of Baghdad, officials said.

At the start of the offensive, troops fired 12 guided missiles and destroyed two buildings used by insurgents to store improvised explosive device-making materials, military officials said. Troops reportedly encountered no resistance as they moved through the target area by the afternoon of the first day.

After securing the area, coalition forces plan to build Patrol Base Khidr, a security outpost where Iraqi police will coordinate efforts with local citizens to secure major roads leading to and from Iskandariyah. Military officials said one intended effect of the operation is to demonstrate to local residents that Iraqi security forces are able to overpower al Qaeda.

In other operations, coalition forces captured an al Qaeda in Iraq leader north of Baghdad on Dec. 15. The leader’s network is responsible for car-bomb and improvised-explosive-device attacks, and is involved in extortion, intimidation, weapons trafficking, and facilitating foreign terrorists’ movement. Ground forces detained two suspected terrorists and found a cache of improvised-explosive-device materials during the raid.

On Dec. 14, coalition forces detained two suspected al Qaeda in Iraq members and destroyed four weapons caches in Arab Jabour and Buaytha. Local citizens detained two Iraqi males who they identified as members of al Qaeda and later handed over the suspects to soldiers of 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, at Patrol Base Murray. The uncovered caches contained anti-tank mines, a variety of mortars, homemade explosives, mortar tubes, copper wire, and numerous boxes of ammunition.

Elsewhere in Iraq on Dec. 14, Multinational Division Baghdad forces arrested two men suspected of financing extremist activities and another suspected of killing coalition soldiers in the Doura region of the Rashid district.

In western Rashid on Dec. 13, Multinational Division Baghdad forces captured a suspected extremist leader during a targeted raid. The “Black Lions” of Company B, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, captured the alleged low-level extremist commander, who military officials said is responsible for improvised-explosive-device and explosively formed penetrator attacks in the area. The suspect is being held for questioning.

As ground operations continue to succeed in Iraq, an aerial operation ended in failure today when an Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle crashed near Muqdadiyah. The primary mission of the remotely piloted medium-altitude aircraft is to conduct armed reconnaissance. A board will convene to investigate the incident, military officials said.

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

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