According to U.S. officials, three terrorists were killed and 14 suspects were detained as coalition forces continued to degrade al-Qaida in Iraq facilitation and leadership networks during multiple operations.
December 17th, 2008.
A wanted man assessed to be an al-Qaida military leader was captured by coalition forces in Mosul.
Also, two terrorists believed to be linked to Samarra al-Qaida in Iraq leaders were killed during an operation early December 17, 2008, near Tikrit, which is north of Baghdad. When the assault force entered a building believed to be the location of a wanted terrorist operative, two men grabbed AK-47 assault rifles and attempted to engage forces. Acting in self-defense, the assault force engaged and killed the two. In addition to the two rifles, forces found multiple grenades and AK-47 magazines in the house. Forces detained a total of two suspects during the operation.
Also on December 17, 2008:
One terrorist was killed during an operation targeting a wanted man believed to be responsible for smuggling foreign terrorists into Mosul and other places in Iraq. After the assault force detained one terrorist, the man broke his restraints and attacked a member of the assault force. Perceiving hostile intent, forces engaged and killed the man. Forces detained two additional suspects without further incident.
A wanted man who reportedly has connections to al-Qaida foreign terrorist facilitators was captured in Talbah, northeast of Mosul. Three suspects assessed to be associates of the man also were detained.
Two suspects believed to be associates of a regional al-Qaida in Iraq leader were detained near Ramadi, northwest of Baghdad.
In Baghdad, forces detained a man believed to have ties to an al-Qaida weapons facilitator and car bomb operative.
December 16, 2008 in Iraq:
Coalition forces captured a wanted man in Beiji, south of Mosul. The suspected terrorist is believed to be an al-Qaida cell leader in the city.
Near Abu Mariyah, north of Mosul, coalition forces detained a suspect believed to have connections to a suspected al-Qaida foreign terrorist facilitator.
In other operations, tips from concerned citizens led Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers to weapons caches in the Baghdad area:
A citizen turned in unexploded ordnance to U.S. soldiers north of Baghdad that included a 120 mm projectile and a hand grenade.
A citizenâ€™s tip guided soldiers to a hand grenade and a trip flare north of Baghdad.
U.S. soldiers found a weapons cache west of Baghdad that included two OS-56 projectiles, a 122 mm projectile, a 130 mm projectile, a 155 mm projectile and a 462 projectile.
Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers found a weapons cache south of Baghdad. A citizen led U.S. soldiers to a cache consisting of 23 57 mm projectiles, an 82 mm mortar and four bottles of bulk explosive material south of the Mahmudiyah area of Baghdad. (Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)
The Sirius Star at anchor off the coast of Harardhere, Somalia, as seen by a U.S. Navy aircraft flying overhead. The ship was attacked Nov. 15 more than 450 miles off the East coast of Africa, and was forced to proceed to an anchorage in Somali territorial waters
Photo By: Petty Officer 2nd Class William Stevens – U.S. Naval Forces, 5th Fleet Public Affairs
Pirates in Somalia
A resolution passed December 16, 2008 by the United Nations Security Council authorizes foreign forces to pursue pirates inside Somalia. In a unanimous vote, the 15-nation U.N. Security Council approved the U.S.-sponsored resolution. The language authorizes nations to use “all necessary measures” to stop anyone using Somali land or sea to plan or carry out piracy.
â€œWe welcome the passing of the resolution,â€ Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. â€œWe will continue to work with our allies and partners to address this troublesome problem.â€
This emphasis on the need for commercial shippers to take more responsibility echoes comments Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made last week in Manama, Bahrain. He suggested owners train boat captains on maneuvers for evading or defending against pirate attacks.
â€œWeâ€™ve seen news reports the other day of a cruise ship that actually — once it realized it was under attack — simply outran the pirates. The truth of the matter is most ships can do that,â€ he said. â€œBut too many just stop.
â€œBut at the end of the day, [piracy] has become a very good business,â€ he added. â€œThe first thing we need is better intelligence on whoâ€™s behind it.â€
Gates said some intelligence suggested that several Somali-based clans might be responsible for a substantial amount of piracy.
â€œIf we can identify who those clans are, then we can potentially target them under the auspices of the U.N., and do so in a way that minimizes the collateral damage, that minimizes hurting innocent people in Somalia,â€ he said.
â€œI think itâ€™s actually a combination of the measures that are taken on the water, and then, under the auspices of the U.N., seeing if we can develop the kind of information that would make possible going after some of these groups in Somalia that would seem to be the source of most of these attacks,â€ the secretary continued.
Following the U.N. Security Council meeting in New York City on December 16, 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the talks included discussion of intelligence sharing, the need for commercial shipping to deter hostage situations and the importance of stabilizing Somalia.
She added that the United States is going to lead a Contact Group on Piracy on the Somali Coast.
â€œBut ultimately, all members spoke to the need to deal with the root cause of the problem, which is the instability in Somalia,â€ she said. â€œThere is great support, as the United States supports the Djibouti process and the hopes for peace as Somali factions begin to try and chart a course ahead.â€
This is Sgt Stryker Signing out.