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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Forces in Iraq Capture al-Qaida Leader in Mosul

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2008 – Coalition forces captured an alleged al-Qaida in Iraq leader and a man believed to lead a bombing cell under his direction during operations in Mosul today, military officials said.

Intelligence information led coalition forces to three locations in Mosul where they found the two wanted men. Four other suspected terrorists also were detained. The alleged terrorist leader reportedly oversees bombing operations in eastern Mosul, while his suspected subordinate is a wiring expert who ordered and controlled bombing attacks in the area.

Two women were injured when coalition forces breached the door of a target building. Both women were treated on site by coalition medics and transported to a local hospital by Iraqi emergency services.

“This effort to target [al-Qaeda in Iraq] leadership continues to increase the peace for the people of Mosul,” said Army Maj. John Hall, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

In yesterday’s operations:

-- Iraqi soldiers and police discovered three weapons caches, while U.S. soldiers detained three suspected criminals during separate operations in Baghdad. The caches contained a mortar tube, dozens of mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and other munitions, all of which were destroyed.

-- Coalition forces captured a suspected Basra-based Iranian-trained “special groups” criminal and an associate during evening operations in the Rusafa district of Baghdad. The wanted man is alleged to be a commander of an assassination squad in Basra, an arms dealer with connections to Iran, and a document counterfeiter. “Captured special groups members are providing actionable intelligence that Iraqi security and coalition forces are using to defeat these criminals,” said Army Capt. Charles Calio, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “By removing special groups criminals’ resources and those who supply them, they can no longer target innocent Iraqis.”

-- Coalition forces killed four terrorists and destroyed two foreign-terrorist safe houses in northwestern Iraq and captured two wanted men in Mosul. Near Biaj, about 130 kilometers southwest of Mosul, coalition forces targeted several foreign terrorist safe houses. At the first location, four terrorists were killed in an engagement. Inside a nearby building, the forces found weapons, ammunition, military equipment and graffiti indicating it served as a foreign terrorist safe house. Coalition forces destroyed weapons, a vehicle and two buildings. In Mosul, coalition forces captured two men believed to conspire with senior al-Qaida leaders and detained three additional suspects. “Today’s operations in northern Iraq targeting foreign-terrorist networks are helping to degrade their ability to carry out attacks on Iraqi civilians and security forces,” said Army Maj. John Hall, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

In June 6 operations:

-- Iraqi national police and U.S. soldiers seized a number of weapons caches and killed one insurgent during operations in Baghdad. U.S. soldiers killed the insurgent during a firefight northwest of Baghdad.

-- Iraqi army soldiers seized multiple weapons caches during a series of operations in Baghdad’s Sadr City district.

-- Iraqi security forces in Basra found six weapons caches containing more than 100 rockets, 200 mortars, 60 anti-aircraft rockets, three launchers, 30 improvised explosive devices, 90 AK-47 rifles, 20 grenades, 10 rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons.

-- Iraqi soldiers netted a large haul of weapons and ammunition in operations across Basra and in the nearby town of Az Zubayr. Since the beginning of Operation Charge of the Knights, Iraqi security forces have seized more than 4,000 mortar rounds, 600 rockets, and 1,500 small-arms weapons.

-- Iraqi commandos captured a suspected terrorist in Haditha. The detainee is reportedly a member of an improvised-explosive-device cell. One additional suspect was detained. “This operation is expected to disrupt terrorist activity in the Haditha triad and strengthen the local security environment in the area,” said Army Col. Bill Buckner, a Multinational Corps Iraq spokesman.

-- A local citizen directed Iraqi soldiers and police officers to a weapons cache located near a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq safe house in Mukayshifah, just north of Samarra. Most of the cache’s munitions were unserviceable, however, two shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile launchers with rounds were found on site. The find is the latest in a series of cache discoveries in the Samarra area over the past 40 days. Iraqi and U.S. forces located 19 weapons caches during the first 16 days in May. Also, a massive cache containing more than 300 rockets was recently found inside a 40-foot-deep well. “The close cooperation of the local citizens leading coalition and Iraqi security forces to cache sites cannot be overstated,” said Army Lt. Col. Thomas Hauerwas, executive officer for 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. “The only way we locate these caches is from the information received from the people in the area.”

-- Iraqi soldiers seized weapons and munitions in the Sadr City district of Baghdad.

-- U.S. soldiers and Iraqi security forces seized weapons caches during a series of operations across Baghdad. U.S. soldiers seized two rocket launchers, two rocket-propelled grenades, and a rifle in southeastern Baghdad. Later, a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol found a rocket-propelled grenade, a sniper rifle, a 60 mm mortar round, and a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher. Another group of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police found three rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, three RPG boosters, an AK-47 rifle, a 22mm pistol, two high-explosive anti-armor rounds, three radios, and an unknown number of 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm rounds in Baghdad’s West Rashid district. Another group of U.S. soldiers seized a car with a rocket rail bolted to its trunk in the Sadr City district of Baghdad.

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

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