Sunday, September 2, 2007

Coalition Forces Grease 22 Terrorists Sunday

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition forces killed 14 terrorists and detained six suspected terrorists during an operation north of Muqdadiyah Aug. 29-31 targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq operatives and bed-down locations.

While in the target area, Coalition forces heard a blast from a nearby road. The ground forces investigated and found that an improvised explosive device had detonated; ground troops also found a trigger wire leading into a nearby house. Previous intelligence indicated the house was a safe house for foreign terrorists. Inside, Coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists.

Another Coalition forces patrol discovered a terrorist safe house with locks on the outside. Inside were two men who had been bound and beaten. At the house, Coalition forces also found bomb-making materials, extremist propaganda and attack planning materials. Coalition forces called in an air strike to destroy the explosives and the terrorist jail.

The ground forces continued their patrol and received heavy small arms fire from a nearby palm grove. Responding to defend their force from the enemy, Coalition forces returned fire and called for close air support to engage the armed men. After suppressing the enemy fire, the ground forces assessed eight terrorists were killed in the engagement. The ground forces found a nearby bed-down location with extremist propaganda, maps marking planted bombs, military-style assault vests, radios, weapons, mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, first aid materials and an ambulance.

As Coalition forces moved forward on their target, an armed man charged toward the assault force, which responded by engaging and killing the armed terrorist. The ground forces encountered more small arms fire and returned fire in self-defense. Coalition forces assessed five terrorists were killed in the engagement. Four suspected terrorists were detained in the area.

Intelligence reports and Iraqis living nearby indicated a mosque in the area was controlled by al-Qaeda in Iraq. Local residents also said al-Qaeda brought in a new imam each week and held terrorist meetings after mosque ceremonies. Coalition forces investigated the area and discovered a command trigger wire leading from the mosque to a hole in the road created by an IED detonation. A village elder led a ground element into the mosque, where they took great care in securing the building before departing. Coalition forces found extremist materials in the courtyard.

Just north of Baghdad, Coalition Forces raided a building where terrorists were holding illegal terrorist court proceedings in Tarmiyah. Al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders imposed vigilante law on residents in the Tarmiyah area, often executing them for violating the terrorist group’s rules. Coalition Forces found nine Iraqis inside the building, some who had been there for 30 days, bound and awaiting sentencing by the illegal court system. The former hostages were examined and found to be in relative health.

After liberating the hostages, Coalition Forces moved to secure another building nearby. Surveillance elements observed five men armed with rifles and machine guns maneuver into tactical positions in a nearby palm grove. Defending against the hostile enemy force, Coalition Forces engaged the armed men and called in close air support. Two of the armed terrorists were killed by ground fire, while three were engaged and killed by the aircraft. In the palm grove, Coalition Forces discovered a bed-down location with two suicide vests and other weapons.

Inside one of the buildings, Coalition Forces found 12 tons of ammonium nitrate soaked in propellant, ten drums of petroleum, bomb-making materials, weapons and extremist media. The building also had a complex tunnel system beneath it. Coalition Forces destroyed the volatile explosive materials on site.

Coalition Forces also targeted an al-Qaeda in Iraq cell leader near Salman Pak. As the assault force secured the area, they observed a man with a pistol draw his weapon. Coalition Forces responded by engaging the armed man, killing him. The assault force also engaged and killed two armed men who moved into position against them. The ground forces detained four suspected terrorists for their alleged ties to the terrorist cell.