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Relative Confirms Oct. 14 Raid Killed Zarqawi Confidant

American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Nov. 26, 2005 – A family member and coalition sources have confirmed that Oct. 14 raids killed a close confidant of fugitive Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, military officials reported today.

Bilal Mahmud Awad Shebah, also known as Abu Ubaydah, reportedly met weekly with Zarqawi, officials said.

Although intelligence assessments indicated at the time that Abu Ubaydah had been killed in the raids north of Ramadi, officials said, analysts could not then determine his death with certainty.

In late November, coalition forces received information from knowledgeable sources and a close family member of Abu Ubaydah, claiming independently that Zarqawi's confidant was killed in the raids.

Detained al Qaeda members say Abu Ubaydah served as an "executive secretary" for Zarqawi, meeting with the terrorist leader frequently, serving as his messenger and gatekeeper, and screening all messages and requests for meetings. Detainees also claim he provided Zarqawi with safe house locations and used intimidation and death threats to gain the cooperation of the Iraqi people to support al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist activity, detainees. During the course of the raids, conducted on the eve of Iraq's constitutional referendum, several weapons caches, containing mortar rounds, small arms and ammunition, were found and destroyed. Bombs made from mortar rounds also were planted along the road leading to the safe houses as a defense against incoming vehicle or foot traffic.

Coalition forces were engaged by small-arms fire upon their arrival to the suspected terrorist location and immediately returned fire. Combining the ground attack with the use of close-air support, the terrorists' hideout locations were destroyed. No coalition forces were injured or killed during the raids.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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Multinational Force Iraq

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