BAGHDAD, Iraq (Jan. 16, 2008) — Coalition forces killed two terrorists and detained 17 suspects today during operations targeting al-Qaeda networks in northern Iraq.
In Bi’aj, Coalition forces conducted an operation targeting an al-Qaeda in Iraq leader for the network in the western region of Mosul. Reports indicate the wanted individual is a direct associate of numerous terrorist leaders, to include the al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri. The suspect allegedly has a history of terrorist activity that originated in Baghdad, and is believed to have been recently appointed to a leadership position in the region after the previous terrorist leader was killed.
As Coalition forces arrived in the target area, an armed terrorist ran at their position and was repeatedly directed to stop, but did not comply. Perceiving hostile intent, the ground force engaged the man and killed him. As Coalition forces continued to clear the area, they were engaged by small arms fire north of their position. A supporting aircraft was called to suppress enemy fire, killing the armed terrorist.
Three suspected terrorists were also detained during the operation without further incident. During two coordinated operations in Mosul, Coalition forces targeted senior leaders involved in the al-Qaeda network operating in the city.
In one location, Coalition forces captured a suspected terrorist who was allegedly operating as a judge of a terrorist illegal court system.
Reports indicate the suspect is involved in the interrogation of individuals who have been kidnapped by al-Qaeda in Iraq networks and is responsible for the facilitation and maintenance of weapons caches in the area. The individual is also allegedly a subordinate of an al-Qaeda in Iraq leader for the Mosul network, who was detained Jan. 6 for his role in terrorist attacks, abductions and executions (see MNF-I press release A080107a, "Coalition forces target al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership; six suspects detained," dated Jan. 7, 2008).
Intelligence reports led Coalition forces to a follow-on operation where they detained five suspected terrorists while targeting the al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leader for Mosul.
Coalition forces conducted an operation northeast of Samarra targeting associates of the al-Qaeda network in the city. Information gained from previous operations in the area led the ground force to a location where al-Qaeda in Iraq members were believed to be operating. Eight suspected terrorists were detained.
"The results of these operations represent another step forward in disrupting the al-Qaeda networks operating in northern Iraq," said Maj. Winfield Danielson, MNF-I spokesman. "As the terrorists try to re-establish themselves in new locations, we will follow and drive them from their hiding places."