Thursday, November 20, 2008

OIF Summary; Nov. 20, 2008: Troops in Iraq Nab 5 Wanted Men, 10 Additional Suspects

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2008 -- Coalition forces captured five wanted men and detained 10 additional suspects during operations targeting terrorist networks throughout Iraq yesterday and today, military officials reported.

Coalition forces operating in Beiji, south of Mosul, captured a wanted man today who is believed to be a weapons facilitator and financier for a terrorist group associated with al-Qaida. Reports suggest the suspected terrorist, who surrendered himself to forces during the operation, has connections to al-Qaida senior leaders, officials said. An additional suspect was detained for questioning.

A wanted man believed to be a car-bomb facilitator was captured by coalition forces yesterday in Sharqat, south of Mosul. Reports suggest the suspected terrorist was actively planning a car-bomb attack in the city at the time of his capture, officials said. Two additional suspects were detained.

In Mosul yesterday, coalition forces detained a man who allegedly has connections to an al-Qaida in Iraq car-bomb cell leader in the city.

Terrorist bombing networks also were the target of a coalition operation yesterday in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad. Forces captured a wanted man believed to be associated with an area terrorist group. The suspect is believed to be involved in car-bomb facilitation and possibly has connections to other area terrorist operatives, officials said.

Forces in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, captured another wanted man and detained four men believed to be his associates yesterday. The suspect is an alleged al-Qaida cell leader in the city. Also yesterday, forces detained a man in Baghdad believed to have links to one of the city's terrorist leaders.

Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers in the Bayaa community of southern Baghdad's Rashid district detained a suspected member of an Iranian-backed enemy group yesterday.

Also yesterday, U.S. soldiers detained a man suspected of kidnapping, murder and attacks against Iraqi security and coalition forces.

In operations Nov. 18:
  • Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers and Iraqi security forces conducted a joint operation in Baghdad's Istaqlal district. The early morning operation netted seven detainees. A coalition of American and Iraqi soldiers participated in clearing and searching buildings, vehicles and nearby fields.

  • Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers and Iraqi National Police confiscated a rifle cache during a clearance operation in the Abu Tshir community of southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. They seized 38 AK-47 assault rifles, three sniper rifles and 14 AK-47 magazines.

  • Iraqi soldiers received a tip from a local citizen that led them to a weapons cache in the Lutafiyah area and asked for help from U.S. soldiers to dispose of the cache. The cache consisted of 25 130 mm rounds and eight 155 mm artillery rounds. An explosive ordnance disposal team documented the contents of the site before safely destroying them.

In other developments, coalition forces have positively identified a terrorist killed in a Nov. 11 operation in Baghdad as Hajji Hammadi, an Iraqi national also known as Hammadi Awdah Abd Farhan and Abd-al-Salam Ahmad Abdallah al-Janabi.

Hammadi was affiliated with al-Qaida in Iraq since its inception and assumed his role as the al-Qaida in Iraq leader of the Karmah and Abu Ghraib areas west of Baghdad in 2004, officials said. He is believed to have connections with the country's legacy al-Qaida leadership, including al-Qaida in Iraq founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the terrorist group's current leaders.

In his position as a regional al-Qaida leader, Hammadi was responsible for planning and conducting multiple attacks on coalition forces, Iraqi police, Iraqi government officials and Iraqi citizens, officials said. These attacks were carried out as suicide and car bombings, kidnappings, executions and assassinations.

Hammadi was the mastermind behind a June 26 attack on coalition forces and Iraqi government officials in Anbar province, officials said. One of his operatives, disguised in an Iraqi police uniform, detonated a suicide vest in Karmah during the city's weekly sheiks meeting. This attack killed three U.S. Marines, two interpreters and more than 20 Iraqis, including the mayor of Karmah and several other sheiks. Hammadi escorted the suicide bomber to the location and videotaped the attack, officials said.

He also has been linked to multiple assassinations of “Sons of Iraq” citizen security group members in the Baghdad area, officials said. Hammadi's history of terrorist activity includes the abduction and murder of Army Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin in 2004, they added. Maupin’s body was found earlier this year. Hammadi also led a group of fighters against coalition forces in the second battle of Fallujah in the fall of 2004, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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