Terrorist Leaders Captured in Iraq; Detainees Released

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2006 - Iraqi and coalition forces captured eight terrorist leaders in recent operations in Baghdad neighborhoods. Also, the Iraqi-led Combined Review and Release Board released more than 200 detainees.

Yesterday, Iraqi forces raided two targets in the Karada area of Baghdad and detained seven individuals responsible for homemade bomb attacks against Iraqi security forces.

The first target was a dormitory on Baghdad Technical University's campus where two student cells, operating out of dormitory rooms, built bombs and later initiated attacks against Iraqi army and police forces. Four students were detained during this operation.

At the second target, an apartment building near the campus, Iraqi forces detained three cell leaders responsible for emplacing bombs made by their student cells. All three cell leaders are believed to be Palestinians, and they were financed by a local business.

This cell is responsible for at least two attacks against Iraqi security and police forces in the Karada area. The first attack, in December 2005, resulted in no casualties. The second attack, in January of this year, killed several Iraqi police officers riding in a vehicle.

No Iraqi forces were killed or wounded during this operation.

On May 29, Iraqi and coalition forces captured a key insurgent leader in Iraq, in the Ameriya neighborhood of Baghdad's Mansour district.

Sheikh Ahmed Hussein Dabash Samir al-Batawi, also known as Ahmed al-Dabash, was a major financier and facilitator of terrorism in Iraq, most notably the bomb attack in the Shiite holy city of Karbala on March 2, 2004. In that attack, several pre-set explosives were detonated near one of the most important Shiite shrines in Iraq - the Golden Dome Mosque.

More than 140 Iraqis were murdered and hundreds were wounded in the attack that occurred during the Shiite observance of Ashoura, a time when thousands of pilgrims gathered in Karbala. It is believed that Dabash also was responsible for the attack on the Shiite al-Tawhid Mosque in Baghdad and for facilitating other terror attacks around Baghdad.

Coalition forces consider Dabash's capture significant for the critical information they believe he will provide on al Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network. They said he is known to have close ties to these organizations.

The Iraqi Central Investigating Court in Baghdad issued an arrest warrant for Dabash on Jan. 9, 2005, citing his violation of Iraqi Penal Code 194 - committing terrorist acts.

Iraqi and coalition intelligence officials and security forces tracked Dabash in a determined manhunt, and over the last two years have arrested several of his enablers and underlings who followed Dabash's command to commit terrorist crimes, officials said.

In other news, Multinational Force Iraq released 204 male detainees from coalition-run theater internment facilities May 30. The Iraqi-led Combined Review and Release Board reviewed their files and recommended release.

The board was established in August 2004 and consists of members from the ministries of Human Rights, Justice and Interior, as well as officers from the multinational forces.

To date, the board has reviewed the cases of more than 39,000 detainees, recommending the release of more than 19,600 individuals.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)

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