TIKRIT, Iraq – U.S. troops shut down a major bomb factory near Saddam Hussein (search)'s hometown of Tikrit on Sunday and arrested two people in connection with bombing activities here, a U.S. Army commander said.
In a raid on a village north of Tikrit (search), troops from the 4th Infantry Division (search) seized C-4 plastic explosives, plastic caps, detonation switches and fragmentation shrapnel used in bombs, said Lt. Col. Steve Russell, commander of the 4th Infantry's 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment.
"We definitely shut down a major operational and bombing site," Russell told The Associated Press. "There are still individuals we are looking for."
Also seized in Sunday's raid was a 60mm mortar, seven rounds of ammunition, three grenades and four AK-47 rifles, he said. No shots were fired, there was no resistance from those detained and there were no U.S. casualties, he said.
"Soldiers are still at the scene searching the area," he said.
Saddam loyalists and remnants of the former regime have been using homemade bombs, often detonated remotely, against U.S. patrols and convoys. On Aug. 5, three 4th Infantry soldiers were killed in one such attack. Troops have been discovering improvised explosive devices almost every day, increasingly with the help of the local population, military officials said.
Russell said the troops in Sunday's raid acted on a tip from residents, calling the cooperation "a very good sign."
He said the weapons and ammunition were hidden in trash pits on a field next to a residential complex, and the explosive was seized in houses.
The exact location of the raid and identities of those detained were not immediately identified.