U.S. military says raid led to capture of top militant
COMBAT OUTPOST CLEARY, Iraq — The U.S. military confirmed that one of the men it captured in an early-morning air assault mission Sunday near Salman Pak was the “high-value individual” they were targeting.
According to the commander of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, the man — wanted for weapons smuggling and financing attacks in Salman Pak and al Ja’ara — confirmed his identity shortly after being taken into custody.
Officials further said the man was “an expert bomb maker and [car bomb] maker” who led Sunni extremist cells in the area.
The battalion, part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, arrested 12 other men in the raid. They are believed to be either members, or relatives of members, of the man’s network.
The raid involved some 40 troops and several lifts of Black Hawk helicopters, which touched down around 4 a.m. in a field near where the man was staying. During the raid, led by soldiers from the battalion’s Baker Company, troops confiscated radios, written materials allegedly detailing killings and kidnappings, and cash.