Zarqawi On the Run

Saturday, April 29th, 2006 8:53 pm by Neal
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida’s leader in Iraq. — AP Photo / via IntelCenter

(Hat tip: Michelle)

With any luck, our next post will read, “Zarqawi Killed!”

Before we get ahead of ourselves, check out an article from The Marine Corps Times regarding our pursuit of Zarqawi.

Just nine days before al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi released his latest video, a special operations raid killed five of his men, captured five others and apparently came within a couple of city blocks of nabbing Zarqawi himself.

Then, the day Zarqawi’s video debuted, special ops forces killed 12 more of his troops in a second raid in the same town.

The raids in Yusufiyah, 20 miles southwest of Baghdad in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, were the latest battles in a small, vicious war being waged largely in the shadows of the wider counterinsurgency effort.

It is a war fought by a secretive organization called Task Force 145, made up of some of the most elite U.S. troops, including Delta Force and SEAL Team 6. They have one goal: hunting down Zarqawi, Iraq�s most wanted man, and destroying his al-Qaida in Iraq organization.

Zarqawi’s escape in Yusufiyah was not the first time special ops troops have nearly had him. In early 2005, they came so close they could see the Jordanian’s panicked face as he fled.

The first of the two Yusufiyah raids began at 2:15 a.m. April 16 when SEAL Team 6 operators and Army Rangers approached a terrorist safe house, a U.S. special operations source said.

A U.S. Central Command news release said coalition forces–the usual shorthand for Task Force 145 elements–were searching for a wanted al-Qaida associate.

When the U.S. troops arrived, the enemy opened fire with small arms. In the fight that followed, the special ops troops killed five terrorists, three of whom wore suicide belts, according to Central Command. Two of the suicide bombers were killed before either could detonate his vest, and the third detonated his body bomb, killing only himself and injuring no one else, the news release said.

Check it out. Bad asses!

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