January 28th, 2008 05:11 EST
Coalition forces target al-Qaeda in central Iraq; 18 suspects detained
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces detained 18 suspected terrorists Sunday and today during operations to disrupt al-Qaeda networks operating in central Iraq.
During an operation east of Tikrit near the Hamrin Mountains Sunday, Coalition forces captured an alleged al-Qaeda in Iraq associate who serves as an interrogator at a terrorist prison and training camp in the region. The suspected terrorist also reportedly facilitates the purchase of weapons and the movement of fighters in the area. The targeted individual’s brother was killed during a Coalition forces operation Sep. 30 for his involvement in leading a terrorist cell responsible for running illegal checkpoints, emplacing improvised explosive devices, and kidnapping Iraq citizens in the Hamrin mountain region. During the operation, the wanted individual identified himself to the ground force and was subsequently detained, along with 12 suspected terrorists.
In Baqubah early this morning, Coalition forces captured a wanted individual believed to be involved in an al-Qaeda in Iraq suicide IED network operating in the Diyala province. Reports indicate the suspected terrorist is associated with the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader killed Jan. 22 for his role in the same network. In addition to the wanted individual, the ground force detained three suspected terrorists on site.
Farther north near Mosul today, Coalition forces detained one suspected terrorist while targeting an alleged associate of an al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leader formerly responsible for the networks in northern Iraq.
“The barbaric nature of al-Qaeda in Iraq continues to find new depths of depravity,” said Cmdr. Scott Rye, MNF-I spokesman. “We stand committed, along with the Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi population, to end their terror and create a safer country.”