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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Forces Capture 18 in Baghdad, Tikrit

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2008 – Coalition forces captured 18 suspected terrorists, including several wanted men, during operations throughout Iraq today, military officials reported.

An alleged terrorist leader overseeing al-Qaida in Iraq operations in the Jazeera desert was captured with one suspected associate during an operation in Tikrit. The wanted man also is believed to have organized terrorist forces in Mosul after several leaders there were captured or killed, including the Mosul "emir," Abu Khalaf, who was killed by coalition forces June 24.

Operations in Baghdad netted two wanted men and four additional suspects. One of the wanted men is assessed to be part of the al-Qaida foreign terrorist facilitation network, and conspiring to acquire chemicals and poison for use in attacks. The other wanted man reportedly is an associate of an attack leader within the network.

During a security sweep in Biaj, about 130 kilometers southwest of Mosul, coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists.

Coalition forces detained five suspected criminals today in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad, including an alleged leader within the Iranian-backed “special groups” criminal ring.

Several suspects already in custody identified the targeted individual as a logistician and financial manager for Asaib al Haq, a Shiite group that broke away from cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia. In this position, he is believed to provide funds and materials, including vehicles, for criminal operations, officials said. He is believed to have knowledge of illegal smuggling activities that support Asaib al Haq finances.

Coalition forces entered the target building, where the wanted man identified himself as the suspected criminal, and they detained him with four alleged associates.

Coalition forces detained three suspected Kataib Hezbollah associates during operations yesterday in New Baghdad. Kataib Hezbollah is reported to receive funding, logistics, and weapons such as improvised rocket-assisted mortars from Iran. The group also is believed to receive guidance or direction from the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Kataib Hezbollah suspects already in custody and sensitive intelligence allowed coalition forces to identify the suspected location of an alleged administrative cell leader, officials said. Reporting indicates the targeted man performs information-gathering activities for the network, conspires with several known Kataib Hezbollah criminals and is believed to be involved in a June 4 rocket-assisted-munition attack that killed 18 Iraqi civilians and injured 29 more.

Coalition forces entered the target building and detained three suspected Kataib Hezbollah associates without incident.

In other operations yesterday:

-- A suspected al-Qaida leader in Sharqat, about 90 kilometers south of Mosul, is in coalition custody after an operation targeting him. Intelligence reports indicate the man is a longtime al-Qaida in Iraq member and has ties to several networks in northern Iraq, officials said.

-- Coalition forces detained six suspected members of an al-Qaida in Iraq bombing network in the Tigris River Valley. One of the detainees allegedly is a cell leader in Beiji, about 160 kilometers south of Mosul.

-- In Mosul, three suspected terrorists were detained during an operation targeting members of the al-Qaida network responsible for murders and moving foreign terrorists into the country. In a separate operation in the city, coalition forces detained four suspects during an operation targeting a bombing network that attacks Iraqi and coalition forces.

-- A coalition forces raid in the Hamrin Mountains region netted six suspects. Coalition forces were targeting members of a kidnapping cell that finances terrorist attacks.

-- Coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists in Baghdad while targeting al-Qaida in Iraq senior leaders.

-- Iraqi soldiers discovered a weapons cache hidden under a floor in a house in southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. The unit was conducting clearing operations in southwestern Baghdad when they found four 60 mm mortar rounds, a 60 mm mortar tube with base plate, 2,000 rounds of PKC ammunition, four rocket-propelled grenades, four RPG launchers and three hand-held radios. Iraqi soldiers from the same unit discovered a 60 mm mortar round rigged as an improvised-explosive device. A coalition forces explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the munitions from both cache sites.

-- Responding to a citizen’s tip, soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s Company A, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, detained two suspected criminals in the Aamel area.

-- Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, conducted a targeted raid and captured a suspected criminal in the Aamel area.

In operations Aug. 29:

-- Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s Company D, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, arrested a suspected special groups member in the Abu Tshir community of southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. The individual is wanted for committing acts of sectarian violence against Iraqis and conducting a roadside-bomb attack against coalition forces, officials said.

-- A concerned Iraqi citizen called soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s Troop C, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, to turn over possible bomb-making materials in southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. The Iraqi, from the Saha community in southeastern Baghdad, brought bottles of liquid and a timing device to a combat outpost.

-- Iraqi National Police, acting on a tip from an Iraqi citizen in the Bayaa community, seized a weapons cache of two mortar tubes, eight 120 mm mortar rounds, two hand-held radios, two homemade bombs, four bombs designed to pierce armor-hulled vehicles, a block of TNT, three rolls of copper wire and 200 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition. They also discovered three flash cameras, miscellaneous wires and bomb-making materials at the site.

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

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