Early-Morning Air Strike Targets Zarqawi Operatives
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2004 Troops from Multinational Force Iraq conducted an early-morning "precision strike" today on a site in southern Fallujah, military officials in Iraq announced in a written statement.
The statement said the site was a "confirmed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi terrorist site."
"Several credible intelligence sources confirmed that members of the terrorist group were operating at the site at the time of the strike," the statement said.
Zarqawi is a fugitive terrorist from Jordan and is believed not only to be the mastermind behind much of the violence in Iraq, but also to have personally beheaded several hostages. The United States is offering $25 million for information that leads to his death or capture.
Military officials said rising Zarqawi associates were specifically identified as having been present at the site of today's air strike, but it was not yet known how many terrorists were killed. Recent strikes against the Zarqawi network have changed the Zarqawi network's leadership structure, causing "numerous reorganizations" of the group, the Multinational Force statement said.
Citing intelligence sources, military officials reported that the terrorists at the site of today's air strike were planning attacks using foreign suicide bombers in vehicles rigged with explosives against Iraqi citizens and multinational forces in Iraq.
"Based on detailed intelligence and analysis, multinational forces accurately targeted this terrorist location while protecting the surrounding homes," the military statement said. "Intelligence indicated that only Zarqawi operatives and associates were at the site at the time of the strike."
In other news from Iraq, two Multinational Force soldiers were killed today when their British army convoy was ambushed in southwest Basra.
While soldiers were extracting the injured, they came under small-arms fire. The two injured soldiers later died at a British military hospital in Shaibah.
An early-morning detonation of an improvised explosive device damaged a Task Force Baghdad vehicle in eastern Baghdad today. There were no injuries. Soldiers recovered the Humvee and returned to their base camp.
Task Force Danger soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment detained the suspected leader of an anti-Iraqi forces insurgent cell during a Sept. 27 raid in Kirkuk. The soldiers detained Husayn Salman Muhammad al- Jabburi, suspected of leading a Kirkuk-Hawaijah-based cell aligning itself with Ansar al-Sunna.
Ansar al-Sunna is a faction of the Ansar al-Islam extremist group that has operated out of Northern Iraq for several years and reportedly has close ties with the Zarqawi network. The soldiers transported Jabburi to a Multinational Force detention facility for questioning. No injuries were reported in the incident.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)