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Eyewitnesses: 12 Detained in al-Mansour Search
Neighborhood surrounded and searched for seven hours
11/07/2008 05:05 AM ET
Google Earth image/Iraqslogger

BAGHDAD - Eye-witnesses familiar with members of Iraqslogger’s Iraqi network described a joint Iraq/U.S. operation this week in the neighborhood of Al-Daudi, within Baghdad’s al-Mansour district.

They reported that a few blocks of houses near the railway station was surrounded at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, and remained so until the early hours of Wednesday. Residents were not permitted to leave, during this time. Houses were searched (for weapons, according to what the troops said), and many residents were questioned, some for extended periods of time.

The stated target was a man named Ahmad Rayash, a man of mixed Iraqi and Syrian descent, who American soldiers said, through translators, is wanted for planning/executing kidnappings, killings, and explosions for the past two years. The soldiers said he was “part of al-Qaeda”, but did not specify which actual group he was allied with. An accomplice was also named, with the first name of Hayder being given.

In the course of the search, both suspects were found and apprehended. All males were extensively questioned, as to their information about Rayash and their level of contact with him. Following questioning, ten additional men were arrested.

A woman whose husband was one of those arrested, stated that U.S. soldiers came to her husband, and asked him if he knew Rayash. He replied that he did not, but they appeared to have intelligence to the contrary. They told him that they knew he was lying, and that they should just tell them the truth. According to the woman, her husband did, in fact, know the suspect, but only as a neighbor. He was afraid, she said, so he continued to deny knowing Rayan. He was taken into custody, and his wife was given the assurance that he would be returned within days, if no incriminating evidence was found aside from his lying about knowing the suspect. Though she was frightened, she said she believed that he would be back home soon.

The troops withdrew at 3:00 AM, without a shot being fired.

These events have not been independently verified.

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