Major weapons cache discovered in Iraq

May 11, 2006 at 12:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- U.S. and Iraqi forces seized and destroyed a massive cache of explosives and landmines in eastern Baghdad Wednesday, the U.S. military announced.

Iraqi national police and American soldiers from the 3rd battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, searched a house in New Baghdad and discovered 142 land mines, 58 blocks of C4 explosives, approximately 8,000 feet of detonation cord, 107 fuses, 22 rocket-propelled grenades, a launcher, 59 mortars, 40 pounds of mortar propellant, four shape charges, 43 blasting caps, explosive-formed projectile materials, two gas masks, six two-way radios, multiple mortar launching tubes, maps of Baghdad and Iraq, and anti-Iraqi force literature.

Iraqi insurgents often stack land mines to disable or destroy American tanks, and explosively formed projectiles are among the most devastating, armor-piercing weapons in their arsenal.

The explosives were removed from the house and destroyed.

They detained three men and a woman in connection with the cache. The woman as later released to a local leader under the condition that she remain on house arrest, according to the military.

During the raid, a crowd of about 300 locals demonstrated, but the protest did not turn violent with the help of a local imam and political leaders, according to the U.S. military.

The discovery of weapons caches, often a result of a local's tip to Iraqi or American forces, occur nearly every day in Iraq, but the May 10 discovery was particularly large.

Iraq's hundreds of weapons depots and dumps were looted and abandoned during and immediately after the U.S. invasion, providing ample ammunition for jerry-rigged bombs. Improvised explosive devices claim well over half the U.S. and Iraqi casualties in Iraq, and are beginning to show up in larger numbers in Afghanistan, according to a top U.S. official there.

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