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Coalition Detains 18 Suspects in Al Rasheed Attack

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2003 - Coalition personnel conducted raids Sunday in and around Baghdad, Iraq, and detained 18 men suspected of taking part in the Oct. 26 Al Rasheed Hotel missile attack, a Pentagon spokesman said.

About two dozen other men who may have played a part in the attack or may be involved in other anti-coalition activities also were detained.

Soldiers of the 1st Armored Division conducted the raids. Officials said the investigation into the attack on the hotel will continue.

The Al Rasheed housed many coalition personnel in Baghdad's "green zone." The attackers placed missiles inside a generator housing and placed it in a nearby park. Eight to 12 missiles hit the hotel, killing one Army officer and wounding 16 personnel.

The raids were just part of a busy weekend for coalition forces in Iraq. On Friday and Saturday, Air Force F-16s dropped precision-guided bombs on targets in Tikrit and Fallujah -- hotbeds of anti-coalition activity. Officials said the bombs targeted weapons caches and the lairs of anti-coalition forces.

On Saturday, coalition personnel detained a man believed to be one of Saddam Hussein's bodyguards. Officials said the man was detained without incident. He was believed to be fomenting anti-coalition attacks in the region. Found with the man was an AK-47 assault weapon, a machine pistol, a rifle, a shotgun and about 1,000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition.

In Ramadi, 82nd Airborne Division soldiers and the Florida National Guard's 1st Battalion 124th Infantry continued to put pressure on anti-coalition forces in the Baathist Triangle area. Paratroopers conducted 168 patrols, two raids and three cordon and search missions Sunday. Officials said the actions netted 39 detainees.

The Florida Guardsmen killed one enemy combatant and wounded two others in a raid near Ramadi. The soldiers also detained 17 individuals and captured arms, including three AK-47s. No coalition personnel were injured.

Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division also conducted raids in and around Mosul in the north of the country. Working with newly trained Iraqi police, the soldiers detained 13 men and uncovered an arms cache.

Also, the Iraqi Border Patrol apprehended two smugglers on the Iraq-Syria border for attempting to move 15 barrels of gasoline across the border on nine donkeys.

These actions were not without their costs. A 1st Armored Division soldier was killed Nov. 8 and another was wounded when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.

In another action, an 18th Military Police Brigade soldier was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack west of Iskandariyah, Nov. 9.

Names of those killed and wounded are being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.