Troops Kill 13 Insurgents; Car Bombs Kill, Injure Iraqis
A coalition air strike killed 13 west of Baghdad yesterday, including three al Qaeda members responsible for assassinating a local imam, military officials said.
Forces identified the slain terrorists as Abu Rami, Ammar Fadhil Kadhim and Fadil Salman, also known as Abu Raad. Intelligence reports indicated that Raad led an assassination team yesterday in emplacing four improvised explosive devices in and around the home of Abu Bilal, an imam known for preaching anti-al Qaeda messages in the local mosque.
The team detonated one IED, awakening neighbors sleeping on the roof of the adjacent building. The assassins then fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the neighbors’ house before entering Bilal’s.
Inside the imam’s house, the terrorists executed Bilal and wounded his wife. Also inside the house was Bilal's nephew, who managed to kill two of the attackers as they attempted to flee.
Following Bilal’s assassination, coalition forces identified the attackers as they gathered in a field nearby. Coalition aircraft engaged and killed the armed men. As ground troops secured the area, they discovered three more armed men. Supporting aircraft killed the three terrorists, one of whom was wearing a suicide vest.
Local citizens feared the three terrorists identified by coalition forces, according to military officials. Kadhim was a senior al Qaeda figure in the Abu Ghraib district responsible for killing women and children. Troops found numerous weapons and a suicide belt among the group of dead terrorists following the air strike, military officials said.
“Cowardly acts against religious leaders and citizens such as this continue to demonstrate that al Qaeda in Iraq will not allow people to live in peace,” said Army Maj. Winfield Danielson, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. “Iraqi and coalition forces will make every effort to end al Qaeda's campaign to terrorize Iraq citizens.”
Elsewhere in Iraq yesterday, suspected al Qaeda terrorists detonated two car bombs, killing six people and wounding 38.
A car-bomb attack in Ninevah province killed two Iraqi civilians and two Iraqi soldiers. Sixteen citizens and five Iraqi soldiers were wounded in the blast; three buildings and six vehicles sustained damage. Iraqi police responded to the attack, securing the area while ambulances treated and transported casualties to a nearby hospital.
A second car bomb detonated east of Tikrit, killing an Iraqi policeman and an Iraqi civilian. The explosion wounded 22 people, military officials said. All casualties were transported to the Tikrit teaching hospital by 4th Iraqi Army Division soldiers.
“These senseless acts of brutality during Ramadan show complete disrespect for the faiths and traditions of the Iraqi people,” said Army Col. Gary Patton, chief of staff for Multinational Division North. “The brave men of the Iraqi security forces will not allow al Qaeda to intimidate them even with these disgraceful acts of violence.”
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)