Thursday, December 17, 2009

OIF Summary, Dec. 17, 2009: Forces in Baghdad Crack Down on al-Qaida

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

BAGHDAD, Dec. 17, 2009 -- Iraqi security forces with U.S. advisors arrested a suspected leader of a terrorist group operating in southern Baghdad yesterday and followed up overnight with four more operations targeting the Baghdad al-Qaida in Iraq network.

All of the operations were conducted with warrants issued by Iraqi courts for the arrest of suspected terrorists.

Acting on intelligence gathered by Iraqi and U.S. sources, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors stopped an alleged Aisha Battalion cell leader as he was driving on a public roadway west of Baghdad. Aisha Battalion is an al-Qaida in Iraq proxy group. The driver and passenger were positively identified and arrested without incident.

The suspected terrorist is believed to be involved in kidnapping Iraqi civilians for ransom and using the money to fund attacks against security forces. He allegedly is associated with senior al-Qaida in Iraq leaders who coordinate large-scale vehicle-bomb attacks targeting civilians and government buildings in Baghdad.

The follow-up operations conducted overnight targeted suspected associates of the two men arrested yesterday.

Iraqi forces and U.S advisors searching a building found evidence of terrorist activity, including a large amount of metal wiring and traces of explosives powder on components that could be used to make improvised explosive devices. Based on this evidence and preliminary questioning conducted on the premises, Iraqi forces arrested a suspected terrorist without incident.

The second overnight operation took place in western Baghdad. Based on information collected during their search of a building, Iraqi forces arrested three suspected terrorists.

The third overnight operation also took place in western Baghdad, where Iraqi forces and U.S advisors searched a building and found devices that could be used to make explosives. Iraqi forces arrested a suspected terrorist without incident.

In the fourth overnight operation, Iraqi police and U.S. advisors searched two buildings in southern Baghdad and found evidence that led Iraqi police to arrest three suspected terrorists.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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