Monday, May 08, 2006

.::Operation.Iraqi.Freedom::.: Top al Qaida Associate Detained

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces detained five suspects and killed an unknown number of terrorists May 5 in a series of raids at approximately 6 p.m. in the vicinity of Samarra . As the troops moved to intercept a vehicle occupied by three suspected al-Qaida associates, the assault force simultaneously took small arms fire from a nearby house. While the troops positioned to stop the car, armed men exited the house, two carrying shoulder-fired rocket launchers and one firing a light machine gun. The forces quickly neutralized the threat emanating from the structure, located approximately 20 kilometers southwest of Samarra , with small arms and rockets fired from supporting aircraft.

The troops then detained the three suspects located in the vehicle, finding two AK-47s, ammunition, two improvised grenades and one hand grenade.

The forces were then provided another location of a second, related vehicle occupied by suspected al-Qaida associates; two more detainees were taken after the troops stopped the vehicle approximately 15 kilometers east of the first intercepted automobile.

Troops later searched the safe house discovering mortar rounds and grenades.

One of the five suspects detained is believed to be a senior al-Qaida associate. All are currently being questioned for their level and involvement in terrorist activity.

The real importance of the Zarqawi blooper video tape is that we are telling him and his associates that we are on their trail. This means that they have no choice but to leave certain safe houses or to make more contact with each other to arrange activities. This means they will be more open and make more mistakes. Zarqawi must re-think his conditions and security. He does not know who and what was given up. Every time we make an arrest the net tightens and he must make adjustments. Every adjustment means the possibility of another mistake. Another mistake means we are that much closer to shutting him down.

It is a matter of time, a matter of "when", not "if".


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