MNF spokesman on the no-mosque-entered incident

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Yesterday, Multi—National Force Iraq spokesman, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch provided further information on the "no mosque entered" incident during his weekly press briefing.  Here is what he said. ( To read the entire transcript, go here and scroll down.)

At that same MNF—Iraq site you can read MNF—Iraq commander, Gen. Chiarelli's comments on that incident, that the scene was re—arranged after the fact for propaganda purposes. This whole affair reminds us of what Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said the other day.  Paraphrasing here: While terrorist propagandists have a well—oiled machine that gets their version out immediately, it takes many hours or days for our side to get out the facts, the truth.  Why?  Because we care deeply about the facts and the truth.
 
Last Sunday the Iraqi special operations forces had indications that a kidnapping cell was working out of this target complex. We have seen a rash of kidnappings in Iraq.

Last Thursday, I talked to you about the hostage rescue of the Christian Peacemakers team and how we had planned in detailed operation to release those hostages. This is exactly the same. This was led, planned and executed by the Iraqi special operations forces, based on detailed intelligence that a kidnapping cell was occupying this complex.

The operation consisted of about 50 members of the Iraqi special operations forces and about 25 U.S. advisors. But the U.S. advisors were there purely in an advisory role. They did none of the fighting; there wasn't a shot fired from a U.S. servicemember during the conduct of this operation.

They surveyed the battlefield in advance, looking for sensitive areas, and they said, "Okay, there are mosques in the area, but the nearest mosque is about six blocks from the target point complex." So a decision was made to do the operation —— focus on this kidnapping cell and try to rescue a hostage, an Iraqi hostage —— an operation planned, led and executed by Iraqi special operations forces.

As they got in the area with their vehicles, they immediately started taking fire from this compound. Now, remember, there are many buildings in that compound and many rooms in the building. They took fire right away; they returned fire. Went into the specific building of choice, they had additional gunfire exchange.

All told, 16 insurgents were killed, 18 were detained. We found over 32 weapons and we found the hostage —— the innocent Iraqi, who just 12 hours before was walking the streets of Baghdad. He was walking the streets of Baghdad en route to a hospital to visit his brother, who had gunshot wounds. He was kidnapped and beaten in the car en route to this complex. When he got there, they emptied his pockets, they took out his wallet, and in the wallet was a picture of his daughter. And he asked for one thing —— he said, "Please, before you kill me, allow me to kiss the picture of my daughter. That's all I ask." The kidnappers told him, "Hey, we got you, and if we don't get $20,000 sometime soon, you're dead." And they showed him the bare electrical wires that they were going to use to torture him and then kill him. And they said, "We're going to go away and do some drugs, and when we come back, we're going to kill you." He was beaten, he was tortured. He was tortured with an electrical drill.

Twelve hours after he was kidnapped, he was rescued by his Iraqi special operation force rescue unit. He is indeed most grateful. He's most grateful to be alive, and he's most grateful to the Iraqi special operations forces.

The closest mosque was six blocks away.

When they got close to the compound, they took fire, and they returned fire. When they got inside the room, a room in this compound, they realized that this could have been a Hussainiyah, a prayer room. They saw a prayer rug. They saw a minaret. They didn't know about that in advance, but from that room and from that compound, they were taking fire. In that room and in that compound the enemy was holding a hostage and torturing a hostage, and in that room and in that compound they were storing weapons, munitions and IED explosive devices. Very, very effective operation, planned and executed by Iraqi special operations forces. "

John B. Dwyer   3 31 06

Yesterday, Multi—National Force Iraq spokesman, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch provided further information on the "no mosque entered" incident during his weekly press briefing.  Here is what he said. ( To read the entire transcript, go here and scroll down.)

At that same MNF—Iraq site you can read MNF—Iraq commander, Gen. Chiarelli's comments on that incident, that the scene was re—arranged after the fact for propaganda purposes. This whole affair reminds us of what Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said the other day.  Paraphrasing here: While terrorist propagandists have a well—oiled machine that gets their version out immediately, it takes many hours or days for our side to get out the facts, the truth.  Why?  Because we care deeply about the facts and the truth.
 
Last Sunday the Iraqi special operations forces had indications that a kidnapping cell was working out of this target complex. We have seen a rash of kidnappings in Iraq.

Last Thursday, I talked to you about the hostage rescue of the Christian Peacemakers team and how we had planned in detailed operation to release those hostages. This is exactly the same. This was led, planned and executed by the Iraqi special operations forces, based on detailed intelligence that a kidnapping cell was occupying this complex.

The operation consisted of about 50 members of the Iraqi special operations forces and about 25 U.S. advisors. But the U.S. advisors were there purely in an advisory role. They did none of the fighting; there wasn't a shot fired from a U.S. servicemember during the conduct of this operation.

They surveyed the battlefield in advance, looking for sensitive areas, and they said, "Okay, there are mosques in the area, but the nearest mosque is about six blocks from the target point complex." So a decision was made to do the operation —— focus on this kidnapping cell and try to rescue a hostage, an Iraqi hostage —— an operation planned, led and executed by Iraqi special operations forces.

As they got in the area with their vehicles, they immediately started taking fire from this compound. Now, remember, there are many buildings in that compound and many rooms in the building. They took fire right away; they returned fire. Went into the specific building of choice, they had additional gunfire exchange.

All told, 16 insurgents were killed, 18 were detained. We found over 32 weapons and we found the hostage —— the innocent Iraqi, who just 12 hours before was walking the streets of Baghdad. He was walking the streets of Baghdad en route to a hospital to visit his brother, who had gunshot wounds. He was kidnapped and beaten in the car en route to this complex. When he got there, they emptied his pockets, they took out his wallet, and in the wallet was a picture of his daughter. And he asked for one thing —— he said, "Please, before you kill me, allow me to kiss the picture of my daughter. That's all I ask." The kidnappers told him, "Hey, we got you, and if we don't get $20,000 sometime soon, you're dead." And they showed him the bare electrical wires that they were going to use to torture him and then kill him. And they said, "We're going to go away and do some drugs, and when we come back, we're going to kill you." He was beaten, he was tortured. He was tortured with an electrical drill.

Twelve hours after he was kidnapped, he was rescued by his Iraqi special operation force rescue unit. He is indeed most grateful. He's most grateful to be alive, and he's most grateful to the Iraqi special operations forces.

The closest mosque was six blocks away.

When they got close to the compound, they took fire, and they returned fire. When they got inside the room, a room in this compound, they realized that this could have been a Hussainiyah, a prayer room. They saw a prayer rug. They saw a minaret. They didn't know about that in advance, but from that room and from that compound, they were taking fire. In that room and in that compound the enemy was holding a hostage and torturing a hostage, and in that room and in that compound they were storing weapons, munitions and IED explosive devices. Very, very effective operation, planned and executed by Iraqi special operations forces. "

John B. Dwyer   3 31 06