NEWS | Jan. 7, 2008

Coalition Forces disrupt al-Qaeda networks in Diyala; 12 killed, 37 detained


BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition forces killed 12 terrorists, detained 37 suspects and freed one hostage during a multi-day operation Dec. 22 to 25 to disrupt al-Qaeda networks near Muqdadiyah in the Diyala River Valley.

Coalition forces returned to an area where recent operations indicated an al-Qaeda in Iraq network was operating. A recent operation resulted in the discovery of nine weapons caches, mass graves and a torture complex (see MNC-I release 20071220-03, "MND-N Soldiers find atrocity site, torture complex and weapons caches," dated Dec. 20, 2007).

During the four-day operation, Coalition forces were involved in multiple engagements with groups of armed men, resulting in 12 terrorists killed and 37 suspects detained. 

On Sunday, a local citizen led the ground force to what they assessed to be a terrorist medical facility, complete with surgical equipment, numerous medical supplies and medication. Also in the compound, Coalition forces discovered ammunition, maps of the area, and a set of instructions on making improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

During operations Monday, Coalition forces discovered an al-Qaeda suicide-bomb making facility with numerous bomb-making materials inside. As the ground force cleared the building, they found a man held captive in a locked room, who appeared to have been beaten. The individual told Coalition forces he was kidnapped a few days prior, beaten, handcuffed and blindfolded. The man was treated on site and transported to a military medical facility for further care. Once able, the individual will be turned over to Iraqi officials for repatriation.

Over the course of the multi-day operation, Coalition forces discovered several hide sites where terrorists allegedly conducted attacks. One of the sites was assessed to be a firing point for IED attacks. At that location, the ground force discovered a structure with various wires leading from a lookout hole to a nearby road intersection.

While clearing areas Monday and Tuesday, the ground force discovered two buildings assessed to be rigged with explosives. Coalition forces safely destroyed the buildings to prevent any injury to Iraqis in the area or damage to their property. Secondary explosions erupted from both buildings, indicating explosives were likely inside. Five additional buildings and a water tower used as a terrorist sniper position were destroyed during the operation to prevent future use for terrorist activities.

Coalition forces also located and destroyed eight weapons caches, which included machines guns, a sniper rifle, pistols, rocket propelled grenade rounds and propellant, ammunition, grenades, detonation cord and several bags of homemade explosives."Al Qaeda has become synonymous with assassinations, torture, car bombings and executions," said Colonel Don Bacon, MNF-I spokesman.

"Iraqi citizens are rejecting the radical ideology and barbaric behavior that is foreign to their nation."

For more information, contact that MNF-I press desk at MNFIPressdesk@iraq.centcom.mil