Wednesday, February 17, 2010

OIF Summary, Feb. 17, 2010: Forces in Iraq Nab Weapons Dealer, Bomb Maker

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2010 -- Iraqi security forces arrested a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq weapons dealer and two other suspected terrorists during a series of combined operations in Baghdad today.

Intelligence reports led Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors to a home in western Baghdad in search of a terrorist wanted for building and distributing silencers for pistols used to conduct robberies and assassinations. Based on incriminating evidence and information gathered during the operation, forces arrested the suspected weapons dealer.

Al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists use weapons equipped with silencers while robbing financial institutions, businesses and private citizens to acquire funds for attack operations, U.S. officials report.

In addition to robberies, al-Qaida recently has claimed responsibility for assassinating Iraqi officials, security forces and civilians as part of its attempts to disrupt the national election process, said U.S. officials. Members of al-Qaida in Iraq also admit to conducting robberies and claim to use stolen funds to purchase illegal weapons, explosive material and bomb-making components, officials said.

In southwestern Baghdad, Iraqi forces and U.S. advisors searched a home for a suspected terrorist leader believed to be responsible for planning and coordinating robberies of financial institutions and private businesses in Baghdad. The man also allegedly is involved in car-bomb attacks and is connected to terrorists responsible for building homemade bombs.

The security team discovered circuitry used to make explosives. Information obtained during a preliminary investigation led forces to arrest a man allegedly linked to the leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq robbery cell and one other suspected associate.

In a separate operation, Iraqi forces arrested seven suspected terrorists west of Kirkuk as part of a concerted effort to prevent future car-bombing attacks throughout the country.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Iraq news releases.)

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