Coalition forces captured 12 suspected terrorists during separate raids today targeting the al Qaeda in Iraq network and associated makeshift bomb cells.
During an operation in Ramadi, five suspected terrorists were captured, all with alleged ties to car bomb and rocket attacks against coalition forces. Coalition forces also captured two suspects in Baghdad for their reported involvement in procuring bomb-making material.
Two other suspects were detained in Mosul with alleged ties to foreign fighter facilitation and makeshift bomb operations. In Habbaniyah, coalition forces captured three suspects with alleged ties with the al Qaeda in Iraq network.
"Coalition forces will continue systematic operations to kill or capture al Qaeda and associated terrorists," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Forces Iraq spokesman. "Terrorists captured will be prosecuted for their crimes under the Iraqi justice system."
Coalition forces also detained 18 suspected terrorists yesterday during raids targeting al Qaeda in Iraq and foreign fighter facilitators. During a raid southeast of Balad, coalition forces detained suspects and found makeshift bomb-making components, machine guns, sniper rifles, grenades and rocket propelled grenade launchers. In Fallujah, coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists during an operation targeting a foreign fighter facilitation cell.
Elsewhere yesterday, 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Iraqi Army Division discovered a large weapons cache hidden in Mosul containing nearly a ton of explosives, projectile rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, other grenades and rockets, and makeshift bomb materials. This was the seventh cache uncovered over the past several weeks in Ninewa province, military officials reported.
Additionally, 2nd Iraqi Army units captured 25 insurgents and killed more than 16, all tied to makeshift bomb emplacement or attacks against Iraqi security forces or coalition troops.
Also, Iraqi police from the 8th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division and paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team conducted a humanitarian medical assistance operation in Sadr City yesterday as part of operations to bring security and stability to the former Mahdi Army stronghold.
Iraqi and coalition medical providers treated 453 people, including 153 women and 122 children, during the first large-scale humanitarian aid operation conducted in Sadr City since Iraqi and coalition forces moved into the area in early March.
"Medical operations are just one way that we can make an immediate positive impact in areas in which we operate. This is just the beginning of a long-term program to improve the quality of life for residents of Sadr City," said Maj. Kyle Simpson, Brigade Civil Affairs Officer for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
Since Iraqi and coalition forces entered Sadr City as part of the Baghdad security plan, violence has dropped off 75 percent and the overall security situation has dramatically improved since December, when surge troops began arriving, military officials said.
Also, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers killed two insurgents who were preparing to plant a makeshift bomb on a road east of Mirad as Suki on March 16.
Soldiers from Troop B, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment observed two men loosening the road's surface with gasoline. When they dispatched two M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to investigate the activity, the insurgents fled the scene in a vehicle.
The insurgents later returned to the site to finish digging the hole. The 2nd Battalion troopers then engaged and killed with machine guns on the Bradleys.
No U.S. soldiers were killed or wounded during the engagement.
In Al Hillah, insurgents attacked coalition forces, and Iraqi civilians with mortars, killing one Iraqi and wounding 13 others on March 15. Iraqi police and a military transition team from 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division reacted quickly to the attack and conducted a cordon and search that detained five insurgents connected to the mortar attack, officials said.
The incident is being further investigated and the detainees are being held for questioning.
Also on March 15, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers medically evacuated two Iraqi women from a mortar impact site north of Dayrat ar Rih. After responding to reports of mortar fire, soldiers from Troop B, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment discovered two women who were severely wounded in the attack. The women were taken to 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, where they were treated for their wounds.