WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2007 – Iraqi and coalition forces killed or detained numerous terrorists over the last two days, and soldiers detained an Iraqi police official suspected of involvement in sectarian violence, military officials reported.
Coalition forces killed three terrorists and detained 11 others during operations today targeting al Qaeda in Iraq and foreign fighter facilitators near Taji and Samarra.
West of Taji, coalition forces captured six suspected terrorists with alleged ties to al Qaeda and found weapons, including several rocket-propelled grenades, in the targeted building.
As coalition forces started to leave the area with the detainees, they saw three armed men maneuvering toward them. Using what officials called “proper self-defense measures,” ground forces called for close air support. A coalition helicopter crew fired on and killed the three armed men.
Near Samarra, coalition forces captured five people suspected of helping foreign fighters enter Iraq.
Special Iraqi army forces, working with coalition advisors, conducted several operations in Baghdad yesterday:
- In eastern Baghdad, they captured the suspected leader of an improvised-explosive-device cell and two other cell members. The suspects allegedly are responsible for carrying out IED attacks against Iraqi civilians and security forces, and inciting sectarian violence in the Baghdad area. The men are suspected of being part of a rogue militia operating against Iraqi civilians and coalition forces, officials said.
- Two other suspected members of the same rogue militia were captured in Baghdad’s Karadah district. The suspects are implicated in the sectarian kidnapping, torture and murder of Iraqi civilians, officials said, and of the kidnapping and murder of Iraqi soldiers.
- A suspected weapons trafficker was detained in eastern Baghdad. The man is believed to be a key Baghdad facilitator for networks moving advanced IEDs and components into Iraq. Two other people were detained for questioning.
In Baqubah yesterday, 5th Iraqi Army Division forces and coalition forces detained a senior Iraqi police official.
Officials said credible intelligence indicates the suspect uses his position to provide cover for his alleged involvement in sectarian violence – including murder, torture and kidnapping -- against Iraqi citizens in Diyala province.
The suspect is believed to be a leader within a group operating in Baqubah and Diyala province that allegedly provides information on coalition forces, Iraqi security forces and Iraqi civilians to illegally armed elements. The police official was detained in his office building by Iraqi and coalition forces without incident, officials said.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)