Mon, Oct 02, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Iraq raids net some 20 terror suspects

CROSSFIRE The US command claimed it had captured or killed al-Qaeda suspects, while civilians said the raids have killed or injured innocents caught in the line of fire

AP , BAGHDADI

Two Iraqi girls yesterday inspect the broken glass of a window at their house located near the site which residents claimed was targeted by an overnight US raid in Baghdad's poor neighborhood of Sadr City.

PHOTO:AFP

raqi and US forces killed or captured more than 20 terrorist suspects, many linked with al-Qaeda in Iraq, in a series of raids, the US command said yesterday.

In an early-morning raid yesterday, Iraqi army forces and US advisers raided a home in northeast Baghdad to capture a person suspected of being involved in the kidnapping and murder of Iraqi civilians, the military said.

The suspect was thought to have been connected to militia groups and was also believed to be involved with roadside bombing attacks, the military said.

The military did not release any further details, but Iraqi police Captain Mohammed Ismael said one person was arrested, while a woman and a girl were killed in the raid and three others wounded.

In the raid's aftermath, relatives held up a blood soaked blanket and pointed to walls pockmarked by bullets.

A woman dressed in black told Associated Press Television News that innocents were caught in the crossfire.

"We are poor people sitting in our house," she said. "We don't harbor rancor against others."

On Friday, US and Iraqi forces raided a building in Baghdad in an attempt to apprehend a suspect believed to be associated with a senior al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist leader and thought to have helped bring foreign fighters into Iraq, the military said in a statement.

The target suspect was also believed to have planned and carried out terrorist operations in Baghdad, and was linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq groups operating in Azamiyah in north Baghdad.

As forces moved in to capture the suspect, three people with assault rifles moved to open fire on them and were killed. Three other suspects were captured, and troops found multiple weapons and explosives at the scene.

The statement did not say whether the target suspect was among those killed or captured and the US military could not immediately clarify.

The same day, coalition forces in Baqubah, 60km northeast of Baghdad, killed two terrorist suspects and captured five others in a raid.

"Credible intelligence indicated the targeted terrorists communicated directly with several al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders tied to terrorist activity from Tikrit to Muqdadiyah and Baghdad," the US command said in a statement.

The intelligence also indicated that the suspects cooperated with other foreign extremist organizations operating in Iraq, it added.

Troops cleared the target building and detained two suspects, then killed two others who opened fire on the coalition forces with AK-47 assault rifles. They located a suicide bomb belt on the roof the building.

Three more suspects were taken into custody in a connecting building, where troops found another suicide bomb belt, multiple hand grenades, and ammunition.

Six terrorist suspects were killed in two separate operations last Monday around Ramadi, 115km west of Baghdad.

Based on intelligence information, coalition forces tracked a vehicle on a road known to be used by the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq in the region, then opened fire on it, killing the driver and three passengers before they could detonate the two suicide vests found inside. Two AK-47 assault rifles were also found in the vehicle.

As coalition forces approached a second vehicle being tracked, one of the two people inside detonated a suicide vest.

Two al-Qaeda in Iraq suspects wanted for attacks on Iraqi and US forces were captured on Sept. 22 in Samarra, 95km north of Baghdad, the military said.

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