1 The Long War Journal: Terrorist Cell Dismantled Near Balad
Written by Bill Roggio on May 2, 2006 1:58 PM to 1 The Long War Journal
Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2006/05/terrorist_cell_disma.php
Two weeks ago, Task Force 145 struck at what was believed to be the hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the city of Yusifiyah. Five terrorists were killed in the raid, and Coalition forces discovered suicide vests and suicide notes along with various weapons. A week later twelve terrorists were killed in a similar raid in Yusifayh.
Last night, Coalition forces have conducted another raid, this time near Balad, which very likely was directed at another al Qaeda in Iraq cell and perhaps even Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Ten terrorists were killed and one wounded during the strike, and again, suicide bombs were present. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) describes the event:
Coalition forces killed ten terrorists, three of them wearing suicide vests, and wounded one at approximately 1:30 a.m. May 2 at a safe house located approximately 40 kilometers southwest of Balad while searching for an al-Qaida terrorist leader. Upon the troops' arrival, one terrorist who was sleeping while on guard outside the safe house, woke up and attempted to engage the assault troops with a pistol. The terrorist was shot before he could fire his weapon. As the wounded terrorist fell backward, he reached toward his chest and detonated a suicide vest. None of the assault troops were harmed in the explosion.
Meanwhile, the troops killed nine other terrorists, seven of whom exited the safe house during the fight and two who were killed inside. Two of the nine terrorists were wearing suicide vests, but the troops killed these bombers before either could detonate his vest.
The terrorists possessed grenades, rifles, a pistol, ammunition, explosives, a machine gun and suicide vests. The troops found $1000 in U.S. currency on one terrorist, and after the suicide bomber detonated his vest, they noticed hundreds of scattered pieces of charred U.S. bills.
The safe house and all lethal material to include the two remaining suicide vests, grenades, weapons, explosives and blasting caps were destroyed.
Based on the press release, this was a well organized and planned raid on a known enemy target. It is likely that Task Force 145 conducted this raid, as the press release only identifies "Coalition forces" and does not specifically identify the unit involved. Also note Iraqi Security Forces were not involved in this raid. CENTCOM/MNF-Iraq press releases almost always name the units involved, and Iraqi Security Forces participate in most of the operations these days (well over 70% as of the last CENTCOM briefing).