Saturday, July 15, 2006

Terrorists Killed, Captured; Helo Crash Response Draws Praise
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2006 – Coalition and Iraqi forces have killed or captured numerous terrorism suspects yesterday and today, and military officials praised the teamwork involved among responding forces after a coalition helicopter crashed yesterday.
Coalition forces captured an al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist and two other suspects during a raid today near Baghdad, military officials reported. The targeted individual is reported to be an "Umar Brigade" member and recruiter with control of several terrorist fighting cells, officials said. The Umar Brigade is an al Qaeda-sponsored Iraqi insurgent group known to target Shiite Moslems and specifically intending to incite sectarian violence.

Officials said the assault force received inconsequential small-arms fire upon arrival to the target area. The troops quickly secured the target location and detained the terrorists without further incident. No coalition forces were injured during the operation.

Elsewhere, coalition forces killed a suspected terrorist and captured another suspect in a raid in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib neighborhood today. The raid's targeted individual was linked to a foreign fighter facilitator killed along with two other terrorists June 12 during a coalition raid northeast of Amiriyah, officials said. Credible intelligence also connected the targeted individual to a Saudi Arabian terrorist killed in a June 28 coalition raid near Iskandariyah. This foreign fighter had extensive dealings in helping finance terrorist activities such as car-bomb attacks, officials said.

Overnight, Iraqi security forces conducted a raid in Baghdad as part of Operation Together Forward, the Iraqi government's plan to improve security conditions in the city. Officials said the purpose of the raid was to capture insurgent leaders responsible for numerous deaths of Iraqi citizens. The insurgents are also responsible for running false checkpoints, kidnappings, torture and other intimidation tactics, officials added. No Iraqi or coalition forces were wounded or killed during this operation, and officials said "multiple" insurgents were detained.

Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers killed two terrorists and wounded one after engaging four terrorists in a small-arms firefight early yesterday in northern Baghdad. Soldiers from the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, spotted several individuals carrying what appeared to be a mortar tube. Following a brief firefight, the soldiers found a PKC machine gun near the bodies of the two dead men and saw two other terrorists fleeing the scene into nearby houses.

Iraqi army soldiers assisted in establishing a cordon and searching the houses, where the third suspect was found with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Three more terrorists were then discovered hiding in a ditch, each armed with AK-47s and ammunition. The wounded terrorist was transported to a U.S. medical facility for treatment, along with a wounded Iraqi army soldier.

In other news, the pilots of a Multinational Division Baghdad AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter that crashed yesterday near Yusufiyah, southwest of Baghdad, at approximately 2 p.m. walked away from the wreckage and have since been returned to duty, officials said.

"The great skill and quick reactions of the pilots enabled them to walk away," said Army Brig. Gen. David Halverson, assistant division commander for support, 4th Infantry Division.

A UH-60 helicopter from the 101st Airborne Division flying in the area picked up the pilots less than 10 minutes after they exited their aircraft. Ground troops from 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, responded to secure the site and assist in the recovery of the aircraft. The soldiers secured the crash site as the downed aircraft recovery team went to work.

"This incident has shown what great teamwork is all about," Halverson said. "Coalition forces brought expertise from all areas and displayed that warrior ethos in record time to recover our pilots and begin recovery of their aircraft."

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