Coali­tion Forces Dis­rupt Ter­ror­ists in Cen­tral, North­ern Iraq

An Oper­a­tion overview.

Amer­i­can Forces Press Service 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2008 — Coali­tion forces killed six ter­ror­ists, detained 28 ter­ror­ism sus­pects and dis­cov­ered three weapons caches dur­ing oper­a­tions over the past two days dis­rupt­ing al Qae­da net­works oper­at­ing in cen­tral and north­ern Iraq.

In oper­a­tions today:

  • Coali­tion forces tar­get­ed asso­ciates of a senior al Qae­da for­eign-ter­ror­ist facil­i­ta­tor dur­ing two coor­di­nat­ed oper­a­tions in Mosul. The ter­ror­ist leader report­ed­ly leads a group of for­eign ter­ror­ists and sui­cide bombers respon­si­ble for an attack that result­ed in the death of five coali­tion sol­diers Jan. 28. Reports led coali­tion forces to an area where one of the sus­pects was believed to be oper­at­ing. Forces killed one ter­ror­ist and destroyed a vehi­cle to pre­vent its fur­ther use for ter­ror­ist oper­a­tions. In the east­ern por­tion of the city, coali­tion forces detained six sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ists for their alleged asso­ci­a­tion with the ter­ror­ist leader. 

  • Coali­tion forces cap­tured an indi­vid­ual in Bei­ji who is alleged­ly an al Qae­da cell leader. The sus­pect report­ed­ly leads and coor­di­nates attacks on coali­tion forces in the region. He also is believed to be a close asso­ciate of the al Qae­da senior leader for the net­work, as well as a mem­ber of an anti-coali­tion forces group active in the region. Local cit­i­zens led the ground force to the indi­vid­ual, and he was detained along with one addi­tion­al suspect. 

  • Coali­tion forces in Tikrit cap­tured an alleged mem­ber of an al Qae­da media and pro­pa­gan­da cell with sus­pect­ed ties to al Qae­da senior lead­er­ship. Coali­tion forces detained three sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ists in addi­tion to the want­ed suspect. 

  • Iraqi and coali­tion secu­ri­ty forces con­duct­ed an oper­a­tion tar­get­ing spe­cial group crim­i­nal ele­ments today in east­ern Bagh­dad. Six­teen crim­i­nals were ini­tial­ly detained; one died lat­er from wounds received dur­ing the oper­a­tion. As ground forces approached the tar­get house they came under attack by small-arms fire. Iraqi and coali­tion forces returned fire , mor­tal­ly wound­ing one ter­ror­ist. A woman also suf­fered a minor injury and was treat­ed on site by mil­i­tary med­ical per­son­nel. The oper­a­tion tar­get­ed mem­bers of a group believed to be respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple indi­rect-fire and explo­sive­ly formed pen­e­tra­tor attacks against Iraqi and coali­tion forces, as well as the kid­nap­ping and mur­der of Iraqi citizens. 

In oper­a­tions yes­ter­day:

  • Coali­tion forces con­duct­ed an oper­a­tion in the Diyala Riv­er Val­ley tar­get­ing al Qae­da asso­ciates involved in weapons smug­gling and attacks against coali­tion forces. Reports indi­cate that coali­tion suc­cess in degrad­ing the net­works in Bagh­dad has pushed groups of al Qae­da into the val­ley, where they are seek­ing safe haven. Forces con­firmed the pres­ence of ene­my per­son­nel in the tar­get area and called for sup­port­ing air­craft to engage, killing five ter­ror­ists. As the ground force cleared the area, they dis­cov­ered numer­ous weapons, includ­ing 12 machine guns and ammu­ni­tion, mul­ti­ple mor­tar tubes, two anti-air­craft weapons, and mul­ti­ple rock­et-pro­pelled grenades. The weapons were safe­ly destroyed, along with a vehi­cle in the tar­get area, to pre­vent future use by terrorists. 

  • Multi­na­tion­al Divi­sion Bagh­dad sol­diers came upon a weapons cache includ­ing 56 60 mm mor­tar rounds, 43 82 mm mor­tar rounds and 19 120 mm mor­tar rounds while patrolling Ghaz­a­liyah. The sol­diers appre­hend­ed a sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist in con­nec­tion with the cache find. In addi­tion, the sol­diers dis­cov­ered a sec­ond cache, con­sist­ing of two 105 mm artillery rounds, a 120 mm artillery round, eight 121 mm mor­tar rounds, four 81 mm mor­tar rounds, 71 60 mm mor­tar rounds and 66 rock­et-pro­pelled-grenade propellants. 

  • Coali­tion forces con­duct­ing a boat patrol south of Bagh­dad were engaged by small-arms fire. They returned fire and called sup­port­ing air­craft to engage. Fol­low­ing the engage­ment, ground forces arrived to assess the scene and dis­cov­ered that the loca­tion where the small-arms fire orig­i­nat­ed was a local cit­i­zens’ check­point. The Iraqis had mis­tak­en­ly fired on coali­tion forces, who fol­lowed prop­er self-defense mea­sures in response to the threat, offi­cials said. The build­ing next to the check­point was struck by the sup­port­ing air­craft fire, killing an Iraqi civil­ian and dam­ag­ing the build­ing. “Coali­tion forces sin­cere­ly regret when any inno­cent civil­ian is killed dur­ing our oper­a­tions, and the man’s fam­i­ly has our deep­est con­do­lences,” said Army Maj. Win­field Daniel­son, a Multi­na­tion­al Force Iraq spokesman. “We only engage what we believe to be hos­tile threats and take every pre­cau­tion to pro­tect inno­cent civil­ians, specif­i­cal­ly to min­i­mize the chances of a tragedy like this.” 

In oper­a­tions ear­li­er this week:

  • Coali­tion forces work­ing with intel­li­gence from police in north­ern Iraq lib­er­at­ed two men locked inside a large stor­age con­tain­er being used as a sub­ter­ranean prison in the Al Jazeera desert near Samar­ra on Feb. 4. The hostages, both from Yethrib vil­lage near Bal­ad, were tak­en from a gas sta­tion along with a fuel truck by men in black masks. The two men were mal­nour­ished and dehy­drat­ed, but showed no signs of tor­ture. “The two indi­vid­u­als told us they were tak­en because their sta­tion did­n’t pay al Qae­da extrem­ists,” said Army 1st Lt. Todd Bald­win, of Com­pa­ny C, 2nd Bat­tal­ion, 327th Infantry Reg­i­ment. After receiv­ing med­ical atten­tion at For­ward Oper­at­ing Base Brass­field-Mora, near Samar­ra, the men said up to nine oth­er peo­ple were held pris­on­er. The two men did­n’t know what hap­pened to the oth­ers, but men­tioned five of them were from Sons of Iraq, a neigh­bor­hood watch group, in Bei­ji. “Iraqi police and Sons of Iraq were the dri­ving forces in the res­cue of the two men,” Bald­win said. “They pro­vid­ed the human intel­li­gence for us to con­duct the res­cue operation.” 

  • Multi­na­tion­al Divi­sion Bagh­dad sol­diers arrest­ed a sus­pect­ed crim­i­nal in the Jihad neigh­bor­hood of south­ern Bagh­dad on Feb. 4. The man is believed to be a for­mer lieu­tenant colonel in the Iraqi army and is sus­pect­ed of using mon­ey tak­en from con­tracts to finance weapons traf­fick­ing to desta­bi­lize the neigh­bor­hood. The sus­pect was tak­en to a coali­tion forces deten­tion facil­i­ty for fur­ther questioning. 

  • An Iraqi civil­ian pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion that enabled Iraqi and coali­tion forces to unearth a large cache 7 kilo­me­ters south of Rama­di on Feb. 4. The buried cache con­sist­ed of 120 23 mm rounds, three 82 mm mor­tar rounds, three anti­air­craft weapons, 4,000 14.5 mm ammu­ni­tion rounds, and 70 pounds of assort­ed pro­pel­lant. An explo­sive ord­nance dis­pos­al team destroyed the muni­tions at the site with a con­trolled detonation. 

  • Police­men from 1st Brigade, 7th Iraqi Nation­al Police Divi­sion, arrest­ed a man believed to be an al Qae­da oper­a­tive after he tried to pass through a traf­fic con­trol check­point in Mas­safee on Feb. 3. The man, sus­pect­ed of mur­der, plac­ing impro­vised explo­sive devices and weapons traf­fick­ing, was tak­en to an Iraqi facil­i­ty for fur­ther questioning. 

  • Multi­na­tion­al Divi­sion Bagh­dad sol­diers cap­tured two sus­pect­ed al Qae­da cell mem­bers in two sep­a­rate raids in Doura on Feb. 3. Dur­ing the first raid, sol­diers knocked on the door of a home believed to be a ter­ror­ist sniper and arrest­ed a man match­ing the extremist’s name and descrip­tion. The man is accused of set­ting up false check­points to kid­nap Shi­ite and Chris­t­ian Iraqis in the Arab Jabour region of the city. Lat­er, sol­diers arrest­ed a man accused of mur­der, forcibly dis­plac­ing fam­i­lies and plac­ing bombs in the Doura area. Both alleged extrem­ists were tak­en to a coali­tion forces deten­tion facil­i­ty for fur­ther questioning. 

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

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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