Monday, August 20, 2007
Coalition Forces captured a weapons smuggler and Special Groups extremist leader before dawn Monday near Qasirin, north of Baghdad.
Coalition Forces conducted a raid targeting this known weapons distributor and Special Groups leader. The captured weapons facilitator was responsible for the storage and distribution of Iranian weapons. Coalition Forces intelligence suggests the weapons facilitator has traveled to and from Iran numerous times and is responsible for smuggling and distributing deadly explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). The target was also responsible for the distribution of those weapons to Special Groups operating throughout the Baghdad area and was connected to a very large network of weapons facilitators and Special Groups associates. The weapons smuggler is believed to have had ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force.
While on the objective, armed gunmen, suspected to be extremist militants, began gathering and maneuvering against Coalition Forces. Coalition Forces were fired upon from multiple directions with sustained small arms fire. Coalition Forces returned fire, killing eight gunmen.
Two others detained during the raid are also suspected of distributing weapons smuggled into Iraq from Iran. One of the buildings searched during the raid produced several AK-47s, ammunition, grenades, a large sum of currency, identification cards and questionable documents, which were all confiscated for analysis and evaluation.
“Coalition troops continue to kill and capture terrorists who bring Iranian weapons, especially EFPs, into Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson. “We will continue to pursue these networks that provide these weapons to those who intend to kill Coalition Forces, Iraqi Security Forces and innocent Iraqis.”