Soldiers assigned to Task Force Liberty in north-central Iraq wrapped up a long weekend of operations by seizing large weapons caches and detaining at least eight men suspected of building and placing roadside bombs.
But the weekend successes also came at a cost. One task force soldier was killed shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday when a roadside bomb hit his patrol near Samarra, officials said. Two other soldiers were wounded in the incident and taken to a military medical facility. There was no word Sunday on their medical conditions.
Two separate raids by 42nd Infantry Division soldiers resulted in the seizure of at least 100 mortar rounds, officials said late Sunday.
In the first incidence, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers “followed a civilian tip to a cache of artillery and mortar rounds in Diyala province” and arrested four people on Saturday. According to 42nd ID officials, the soldiers staked out the cache and detained a man who arrived at the site and began to dig up the weapons.
Among the munitions seized were 29 mortar rounds and 20 large artillery rounds. Insurgents have routinely converted mortar and artillery shells into the roadside bombs which are the number one threat to U.S. troops in Iraq.
The three other men were arrested at the first man’s house. Explosives experts detonated the munitions found in the raid.
In another raid, soldiers searching a farm north of Beiji found a weapons cache that included 35 mortar rounds and several boxes of artillery propellant.
And in Kirkuk, U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police officials detained eight men suspected of manufacturing and exploding roadside bombs. The arrests were made after a police investigation, U.S. officials said, with the eight suspects being held in Iraqi police custody.