U.S. says over 100 known, suspected terrorists captured in Iraq

August 22nd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.S. says over 100 known, suspected terrorists captured in Iraq

Media: The Associated Press
Date: 22 August 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq_U.S. and Iraqi forces have captured more than 100 known and
suspected terrorists in the past week, including one linked to the Feb. 22
bombing of a Shiite shrine that triggered a cycle of sectarian violence, a
U.S. spokesman said Tuesday.

At the same time, more than 500 Iraqi men have joined the police in restive
Anbar province _ a focal point of the Sunni Arab insurgency _ in the most
successful recruiting drive in the region.

The arrests are part of a new push by the United States to wipe out the
insurgency, which it blames on the local wing of al-Qaida, and sectarian
strife gripping at least four of Iraq's 18 provinces.

"All these captures have severely disrupted and disorganized the capability
of al-Qaida in Iraq," U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell
told reporters.

"They enable Iraqi security forces along with coalition forces ... to gain a
greater understanding of the terrorist network in this region and how to
best defeat it," he said.

At least 3,500 people were killed in Iraq in July, the deadliest monthly
toll since the U.S.-led war in Iraq in March 2003 to oust Saddam Hussein.
The violence appears to have tapered off in the last one week.

Caldwell said the notable successes include the capture of a Saudi al-Qaida
member in Ramadi west of Baghdad and two terrorists in Tikrit, Saddam's
hometown north of Baghdad.

One of them, he said, was directly linked to the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite
shrine in Samarra, which triggered a cycle of tit-for-tat attacks by Shiites
and Sunnis. Extremists among the two communities have used car bombs,
mortars, rockets, and kidnappings.

In Baghdad, six death squad leaders and 31 death squad cell members were
arrested in the past week, Caldwell said.

U.S. Marines screened thousands of applicants earlier this month in various
regions along the western Euphrates River valley to pick the police recruits
in Anbar province, said a statement by the U.S. command Monday.

Most American deaths this month have been in Anbar province west of Baghdad,
where support for the Sunni Arab insurgency runs deep. The latest casualties
in Anbar were two Marines and a sailor who were killed in combat Sunday. All
three belonged to the Regimental Combat Team 7, which conducted the
three-day police recruitment.

The situation in predominantly Sunni Anbar is a barometer for Iraq's entire
Sunni Arab minority, which lost its favored position to the majority Shiites
and the Kurds when Saddam's regime collapsed.

The majority of Iraqi security force personnel now are Shiite or Kurdish,
while young Sunni Arabs make up much of the insurgency. The Americans would
like to redress the imbalance and bring more Sunnis into the ranks.

But efforts to recruit more Anbar Sunnis into the army have thus far
faltered, either because of intimidation by insurgents or genuine support
for their cause.

The recruitment of more than 500 police cadets is a significant achievement
in the American goal, but desertion rate remains high among the Iraqi army
and police force, often because the foot soldiers don't get paid in time or
get fatigued by the ongoing fighting.

If all 500 new applicants stay with the force after the training period,
which last from eight to 10 weeks, Anbar will have more than 2,200 police
officers in uniform, the statement said.

On Tuesday, two civilians were killed in crossfire during an exchange of
fire between British forces and militiamen in Amarah, 180 miles southeast of
Baghdad, said the region's governor, Adil Mehodar al-Maliki.

Elsewhere, a bomb hidden in a bag exploded on a street in Tayaran Square in
central Baghdad on Tuesday, killing two civilians and wounding nine, said
police Lt. Bilal Ali. A Shiite engineer was shot dead while he was in his
car in Baghdad, said police 1st Lt. Mitham Abdul-Razaq.

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