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March Raid Killed bin Laden Associate, Officials Announce

American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, April 13, 2006 – Coalition and Iraqi forces killed a wanted extremist with high-level terrorism ties during an early morning raid March 27 near Baghdad's Abu Ghraib district, Multinational Force Iraq officials here announced today.

Rafid Ibrahim Fattah, also known as Abu Umar al-Kurdi, had ties to Taliban members in Afghanistan, Pakistan-based extremists, and al Qaeda senior leaders including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, officials said. He also had ties with Jaysh al Islami -- "The Islamic Army in Iraq" -- and the Iraqi resistance group Ansar al Sunnah.

Over the past six months, the Kurdi worked as a Jaysh al Islami cell leader in Baqubah, and he allegedly was involved in the kidnapping of an Iraqi woman. He traveled extensively throughout Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq over the past 15 years, and formed a relationship with al Qaeda senior leaders in 1999 while in Afghanistan, officials said.

In the 1980s, he formed ties with the Muslim Brotherhood while in Iran and Pakistan, and then he joined the "holy war" in Afghanistan in 1989. Within months, he was given the title of an al Qaeda ambassador and attended military training camps near Jalabad, where Osama bin Laden often visited.

He returned to the Muslim Brotherhood in Peshawar in 1991, and in 1992 moved to Iraq, joining the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. Throughout the 1990s until his death, Kurdi moved between Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, holding various positions including as a liaison among terrorist networks, as an operations officer responsible for coordinating the activities of the various terrorist groups, and as a security chief for a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.

A detainee who admitted his own affiliation with Jaysh al Islami claimed that Kurdi recruited him into the terrorist organization. The detainee claims he joined in September 2004 when Kurdi introduced him to the JAI leader .

The detainee also told officials that Kurdi kidnapped and murdered a woman several months ago. Officials confirmed the hostage-taking, and are investigating the alleged murder.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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