Army intelligence finds drop in Zarqawi communications

Thursday, September 30, 2004

BAGHDAD U.S. Army intelligence has concluded that daily U.S. air strikes have hurt the terror network led by Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi.

U.S. officials said military intelligence has detected a drop in communications and activities in insurgency-controlled Sunni cities such as Faluja and Samara.

Over the last month, officials estimated, about 100 Al Zarqawi operatives have been killed in U.S. bombing operations, mostly in Faluja. They said the air strikes were based on enhanced intelligence regarding the movement of senior operatives.

At the same time, U.S. combat aircraft continued pounding suspects hideouts of Al Zarqawi in Faluja, Middle East Newsline reported. The military said it conducted what it termed a "precision strike" on the confirmed "Zarqawi terrorist site" in southern Faluja.

"Several credible intelligence sources confirmed that members of the terrorist group were operating at the site at the time of the strike," a U.S. military statement said.

On Sept. 17, Al Zarqawi's chief aide was killed in a U.S. air strike as he was driving from Faluja to Baghdad. Officials said the death of Sheik Abu Anas Al Shami, a Palestinian and spiritual leader of Tawhid, marked the greatest blow to the Sunni insurgency movement.

"We have had a lot of good effect against the Zarqawi network in the past several weeks," U.S. Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid said on Sept. 22. "We'll continue to work against them as long as it takes. We will find him, root him out and destroy him and his organization, and we'll do it as quickly as we possibly can."

On Tuesday, the U.S. military continued to report successes against the Sunni insurgency movement. The military said U.S. forces captured an insurgency leader in Kirkuk the previous day.

The insurgent was identified as Hussein Salman Mohammad Al Jabburi. Officials identified Al Jabburi as head of an Al Zarqawi-aligned network, Ansar Al Sunna.

Officials said the U.S. military was interrogating Jabburi. Neither the officials nor the military provided additional information.

The U.S. strikes have not impacted the main element of the insurgency in Iraq supporters of the former Saddam Hussein regime. Officials acknowledged that Saddam's former special operations forces were tightening control over several Sunni cities, particularly Ramadi in western Iraq.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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