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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Forces in Iraq Capture 'Special Groups,' al-Qaida Leaders

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2008 – Coalition forces in Iraq today captured a man believed to be the leader of an Iranian-backed enemy “special group” and another who's an alleged al-Qaida chieftain during separate operations conducted near Kut and in Mosul, respectively, military officials said.

Coalition forces captured the suspected Iranian-trained explosives expert in Numaniyah, southeast of Baghdad near Kut. Intelligence sources told coalition officials the suspect has numerous Iranian contacts with whom he would meet when smuggling weapons and bomb-making materials into Iraq. Coalition forces entered the suspect’s residence and subdued him without firing any shots after the man made a move toward a weapon.

Also today, coalition forces captured the alleged leader of an illegal terrorist court system during an operation in Mosul. The alleged al-Qaida in Iraq “emir,” or leader, reportedly ran a court designed to impose extremist ideology on Iraqi citizens. Intelligence also indicates the detainee is linked to senior al-Qaida operatives in Mosul.

In yesterday’s operations:

-- Coalition forces detained a man in Beiji while targeting members of an al-Qaida in Iraq bombing network in Salahuddin province.

-- Coalition operations in northwest Iraq netted five suspected terrorists.

-- Two suspects were detained by coalition forces during an operation near Samarra.

Also yesterday, Iraqi police, U.S. soldiers and local Iraqis teamed up to seize a number of weapons during operations in and around Baghdad:

-- Iraqi police found 26 AK-47 rifles, two SKS rifles and a Mauser rifle north of Baghdad.

-- An Iraqi resident brought four 60 mm mortars to an American outpost in the Shaab area of Baghdad’s Adhamiyah section.

-- U.S. soldiers seized an armor-piercing roadside bomb, a conventional improvised explosive device, six rocket-propelled grenades, 10 charges and an artillery round while patrolling the Shulla area of Baghdad’s Kadhamiyah neighborhood.

-- In the Jihad area of Baghdad’s Rashid neighborhood, U.S. soldiers acted on a resident’s tip to find 20 60 mm mortars, 50 grenades, 50 grenade fuses, three nonelectric blasting caps and 1,200 7.62 mm rounds.

-- Iraqi soldiers seized three weapons caches in Baghdad’s Sadr City section. The caches contained, in total: 12 IEDs, five 120 mm mortar rounds, 11 60 mm mortar rounds, 14 rocket-propelled grenades, three hand grenades, a smoke grenade, three rockets, an RPG launcher, two rocket bases, an AK-47 assault rifle, 12 loaded AK-47 magazines and eight empty AK-47 magazines, 200 AK-47 rounds and two loaded light-machine-gun magazines.

Also yesterday, Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers teamed up to seize a number of weapons caches during operations conducted in and around Baghdad:

-- Iraq police and U.S. soldiers found two IEDs in the city’s New Baghdad district. One consisted of a 130 mm artillery round, and the other device was made from a 107 mm artillery round. The joint force also seized 62 AK-47s, six sniper rifles, four 9 mm pistols, 12 full AK-47 magazines, four full 9 mm magazines and a machete.

-- Iraqi soldiers seized five AK-47s in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, while U.S. soldiers discovered a weapons cache containing mortars and rockets, explosives, RPGs, detonation cord and blasting caps.

-- An Iraqi citizen turned in two 120 mm mortar rounds, two grenades and a tube to U.S. soldiers.

-- U.S. soldiers found a weapons cache northwest of Baghdad containing small-arms ammunition and magazines, a camouflage net and other items.

-- Iraqi soldiers in Sadr City seized a weapons cache containing several rifles and a machine gun.

In June 9 operations:

-- Iraqi soldiers seized weapons and vehicles during operations throughout Baghdad. In the Kadamiya district, the Iraqi soldiers found a cache containing one light anti-armor weapon rocket, communication devices, two sets of body armor, four machine-gun barrels, communication wire, an RPG warhead, small-arms ammunition, five boxes of 5.56 mm rounds and various grenades. The Iraqi troops also confiscated three vehicles and one moped. Extra fuel tanks had been welded into the beds of two of the trucks.

-- Iraqi commandos detained six suspected al-Qaida terrorists in the Tall Abtah area, northwest of Mosul. The detained men are linked to a terrorist cell that harbors insurgents and constructs IEDs.

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

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