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Thursday, November 8, 2007       Free Headline Alerts

U.S. military shuts down Al Qaida's propaganda network in Iraq

BAGHDAD The U.S. military said it has destroyed much of Al Qaida's financial and media network.

Officials said Al Qaida has lost most of its ability to generate propaganda, recruit and receive financing for its operations. They said many of these activities were conducted on the Internet.

"We've taken out a significant part of their leadership," U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, said. "We also have gone after, very heavily, their propaganda network."

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In a Nov. 4 briefing, Smith said 80 percent of Al Qaida's media structure was destroyed, Middle East Newsline reported. He said this has hampered the recruitment and operational ability of the Iraqi insurgency network.

"We've gone after their foreign fighter facilitation network," Smith said. "We've gone after their financial networks."

Still, Smith warned that Al Qaida remains capable of mass-casualty attacks in Iraq. He cited an Al Qaida suicide strike by a motorcyclist on Oct. 29, in which 27 Iraqi police officers were killed.

"Al Qaida still has a capacity to kill civilians and certainly go after infrastructure," Smith said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. military in Iraq announced the imminent release of nine Iranian detainees, most of them officers of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Two of the detainees were accused of providing support to Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

"It is our intent to release nine Iranians currently in custody in the near future," Smith said. "They will be released in the coming days. These individuals have been assessed to be of no continuing value, nor do they pose a further threat to Iraqi security."

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