Coalition forces killed at least 20 terrorists, wounded six others and detained a suspect during operations this morning targeting secret cells operating in the Maysan province of eastern Iraq.
The detained individual is an alleged member of the secret cell terrorist network known for transporting weapons and explosively formed penetrators -- a particularly deadly, armor-piercing form of roadside bombs -- from Iran to Iraq, military officials said. The group also is responsible for bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.
In coordination with the Iraqi government, coalition forces conducted raids in Amarah and Majjar al-Kabir, where coalition troops came under heavy small-arms fire and rocket-propelled-grenade attacks.
Ground forces retaliated with close-air support to suppress the enemy fire, killing at least 20 terrorists. Military officials said the strafing wounded six suspected terrorists. Coalition fire also destroyed a vehicle being used by the terrorists as a fighting position.
"Terrorists learned this morning that there is no safe haven in Iraq," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Coalition forces will seek out and find terrorists anywhere and everywhere in Iraq."
Iraqi police detained four insurgents as they attempted to plant an improvised explosive device early this morning near Tikrit. U.S. surveillance helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade engaged and wounded the four individuals after observing them carry and place materials into a hole. They are being treated for their wounds and have been detained for further questioning by local Iraqi security forces.
During operations today and yesterday to disrupt the al Qaeda car-bomb network in Baghdad, coalition forces detained 11 suspected terrorists.
Troops netted four suspected terrorists allegedly involved with the car-bomb cell this morning in southern Baghdad, military officials said. They captured another individual with suspected ties to a smuggling ring known for bringing bomb-making materials into Iraq.
In a raid in Baghdad and Haditha yesterday, coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists whose network supports Syria-based extremists and provides suicide bombers, vehicles and explosives for the cell.
"Disrupting the bombing network in Baghdad is a high priority for us, and we will continue to target the cells' leaders and members,"Garver said.
Yesterday, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment supporting Operation Marne Torch, detained five individuals while conducting a company-sized operation in the city of Duraiya. The purpose of the mission was to disrupt key insurgent networks from freedom of maneuver in the battalion's area of operation, military officials said.
To prevent insurgents from entering southern Baghdad, fixed-wing aircraft dropped four precision-guided bombs on targeted sites June 16, beginning the major Marne Torch offensive. The aircraft supported about 1,200 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, soldiers focused on the security belts surrounding Baghdad.
The brigade's efforts are part of the larger operation recently announced by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Multinational Force Iraq commander.
Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers and aviation assets discovered six rockets in a schoolyard yesterday in Baghdad's Rashid district, military officials said. While aircrews from 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment investigated an area suspected as the point of origin for rocket fire against Baghdad's International Zone, they spotted suspicious looking objects in a school yard.
Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, assigned to 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, arrived 30 minutes later and found six Iranian-made 107 mm rockets. An explosive ordnance disposal unit later disposed of the munitions.
"Great teamwork and cooperation between vigilant Army aviators and our soldiers prevented those rockets from being used against the people of Rashid and the forces securing the district,"said U.S. Army Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, the 4th Brigade Combat Team commander.
In other news from Iraq, Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment on a mounted patrol in Baghdad's Adhamiyah District on June 16 received small-arms fire from a small group of ski mask-wearing insurgents on a rooftop. Soldiers returned fire, and the insurgents fled. A wild chase through the city streets followed as the soldiers attempted to cut off the insurgents' escape route, U.S. officials said.
During the ensuing 20-minute battle, coalition forces killed one insurgent and nabbed three others.
Military officials reported today that Iraqi security forces detained four suspected terrorists yesterday believed to have information regarding the June 13 Askari Mosque bombing in Samarra. Acting on previous intelligence, forces raided the target building and detained the four individuals believed to be linked to the recent bombing and other criminal activity in Samarra, officials said.
Iraqi forces also seized several propaganda documents, a compact disc showing attacks against coalition forces, several cell phones, 10 feet of detonation cord, 81 blasting caps, identification cards for access to the mosque, and photos depicting terrorist training.
Talk Show America 6/19/2007