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November 21, 2005

Officials: 30 Percent Chance Zarqawi Is Dead

Sorry for all the updates, but I want this guy to be dead real bad.

The headline isn't a joke. Weird that someone would peg the probability of a body being Zarqawi's at 30%. I figure that must mean there are some minor consistencies between the body and Zarqawi, but not enough to be more certain.

An Iraqi police commander said Sunday that U.S. and Iraqi officials were certain that seven men who fought to the death in a house in northern Iraq were members of al Qaeda but were still trying to determine whether one of them was Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian insurgent leader.

U.S. and Iraqi forces remained deployed around the site of the three-hour gunfight Saturday at a house in the city of Mosul, north of Baghdad.

...

Joint forces backed by U.S. military helicopters had surrounded the house after receiving a tip that led them to believe that Zarqawi might be inside, the governor of Nineveh province, Duraid Kashmoula, said Saturday.

Four of the fighters inside died resisting an intense air and ground assault by the U.S. and Iraqi forces, and three others blew themselves up with explosives rather than be captured, Kashmoula said. A woman was also found inside with the words "suicide bomber" marked on her chest, officials said. Brig. Gen. Said Ahmed Jubouri, a police commander in Mosul, said the force of the suicide blasts destroyed the house.

Fierce resistance on such a scale often indicates the presence of what the U.S. military calls high-value insurgent targets. U.S. intelligence officials said earlier this year that Zarqawi had vowed not to be taken alive.

...

U.S. military officials believe it is possible that Zarqawi was killed in the raid but will not know with certainty until DNA tests are run, said a U.S. military intelligence official involved in Iraqi issues.

There is a "30 percent" chance that one of the bodies is Zarqawi's, he said. But he warned: "We've had dry holes before."

And check this out:

Over the past month, the official said, there has been a series of raids following a surge in tips from Iraqis unhappy with Zarqawi and his operation. These tend to be traditional Iraqi leaders -- sheiks and imams -- upset with the organization, especially its recent execution of Sunni Arabs in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar. "Their feeling is that al Qaeda in Iraq has overstepped its bounds," he said.

Whether we got him this time or not, we definitely got eight fuckers that needed killing, and it looks like we'll be getting more.


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posted by Ace at 12:26 AM

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