News: Iraqi, Coalition Forces detain six anti-Coalition Shiite militia members in Tha'Alba raid
THA'ALBA, Iraq – Iraqi and coalition forces captured six enemy targets during the early morning hours of Sept. 25 in Tha'Alba, Iraq, during Operation "Viking Squeeze II."
U.S. Army Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Wash., and Soldiers from the Iraqi 5th Special Troops Company detained 10 individuals – six of which are suspected of facilitating and executing attacks against innocent civilians, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces.
Two of the detainees are members of a kill squad, one of whom is suspected of participating in a minimum of three murders in Sha'ab Village. Another detainee is a kidnapping specialist suspected of participating in the abduction of the Iraqi deputy of electricity. The fourth detainee is an anti-coalition Shia extremist company commander, suspected of being responsible for the emplacement of improvised explosive devices on routes traveled by coalition forces. The other two detainees are suspected of using their homes as safe houses for extremist meetings.
Four other suspects were detained in the raid.
"The operation was conducted in an area known to have IED emplacers, weapons traffickers and individuals involved in some sectarian murders," said Lt. Col. John Drago, 2-12 FA commander. "We demonstrated to the enemy the element of suprise, which puts them off balance; they don't know where we are going to go next. For the majority of Tha'Alba citizens who are law-abiding citizens and want some security, this will be a positive step forward. We know the majority of the people in Al Tha' alba, and eradicating the bad ones will help bring peace to the area."
Also captured in the raid were four AK-47s, two pistols, one PKC rifle and a shotgun, along with 13 full AK-47 magazines, more than 300 PKC rounds, four body armor vests, $15,400 in cash and numerous propaganda tapes.
"We know there has been some movement of weapons from Sadr City into our area of operations, and this operation has interdicted their logistics train – the ability to move weapons and personnel through our area," Drago said. "This will adversely impact their ability to conduct IED-type activity and sectarian killings, and positively impact Iraqis."
"We are going out there engaging the local leaders, and demonstrating to them why we did the operation, who we detained, and the information we have on their involvement in illegal activity," Drago said. "Although we go out and capture and kill bad guys, the whole reason we are doing it is to provide security and to gain the trust and respect of the populace."
Date Posted:09.27.2007 10:06
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