OIF Summary; Nov. 19, 2008: Iraqis Arrest Local Official, Troops Capture Terror Suspects
Dispatches from the Front:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2008 -- Iraqi security forces arrested a local government official in Iraq’s Diyala province yesterday, one of 11 suspects captured this week in ongoing efforts to break up terrorist cells throughout the country, military officials reported.
The government official, whose name was not released, is accused of using his position to deny government funding intended to support residents of eastern Diyala, and providing logistical and financial support to criminal groups in the area.
The man is named on a terrorist watch list and has facilitated explosives training of militants in Iran, officials said.
The suspect's case will be reviewed and adjudicated according to Iraqi law, they said.
Coalition forces in Baghdad captured an alleged weapons dealer and an alleged terrorist financier and detained seven of their associates as suspects in three separate operations yesterday. All are believed to aid al-Qaida in Iraq leaders in obtaining weapons and money, officials said.
In other news, coalition troops apprehended a identified as a senior Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force officer Nov. 17 at Baghdad International Airport. The man is believed to be part of a Quds group that operates under the cover of building and repairing religious sites in Iraq to smuggle illegal weapons into the country in shipments of building materials, officials said.
Coalition forces were in pursuit of the wanted man when he was detained by airport security forces while he was attempting to leave the country. During their search, forces discovered he was carrying an unspecified amount of cocaine.
Coalition officials said the Iranian Quds Force is believed to provide direct support to multiple extremist groups in Iraq, and intelligence information suggests that one of these groups was the expected recipient of the weapons being smuggled into Iraq from Iran.
In another operation Nov. 17, coalition forces killed a wanted terrorist and his driver after stopping their car in Sinjar, about 55 miles southwest of Mosul, near the Syrian border.
When forces approached the vehicle, the driver initially complied with instructions. But as the troops moved closer to the vehicle, the driver reached for a weapon, officials said. The assault force then engaged and killed both men, as well as a woman and two children who also were in the vehicle.
One of the men was positively identified as the targeted terrorist, while the other man was identified as one of his associates.
"We truly regret the loss of civilian life during our operations," said Army Col. Scott Maw, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "However, these terrorists continue to show a blatant disregard for the lives of those around them and place innocent people in imminent danger."
A subsequent search of the vehicle netted an AK-47 assault rifle.
Also in Iraq this week:
- Iraqi National Police conducting a cordon and search seized a major weapons cache from a house in Mosul. The force detained 11 suspects and disposed of the cache, which included 81 AK-47 magazines, six AK-47s, five boxes of ammunition, a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher and three RPG warheads, four trigger switches for roadside bombs, a land mine, three sniper-rifle magazines, four 9 mm pistols, more than 50 pounds of homemade explosives and 36 dynamite sticks.
- A tip led Iraqi National Police and a 10th Mountain Division platoon from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, to seize a weapons cache in a field in the Baghdad neighborhood of New Baghdad. The cache included two land mines, seven grenades, two grenade fuses, a 1-pound bag and seven bricks of C-4 explosive, 12 RPGs, a 100 mm artillery round, a six-inch copper plate, eight RPG boosters, two bags of TNT and a 1-pound bag of explosives.
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