Thursday, November 18, 2004
American forces find what they believe is headquarters of al-Zarqawi group. (Hat tip: Clarkent)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) U.S. troops sweeping through Fallujah on Thursday said they believe they have found the main headquarters of the insurgent group headed by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
In video shot by an embedded CNN cameraman, soldiers walked through an imposing building with concrete columns and with a large sign in Arabic on the wall reading ''Al Qaida Organization'' and ''There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.''
Inside the building, U.S. soldiers found documents, old computers, notebooks, photographs and copies of the Quran.
Al-Zarqawi last month renamed his group al-Qaida in Iraq, and his followers have been blamed for a number of deadly bombings and beheadings of foreign hostages, including three Americans and a Briton. The United States has offered a $25 million reward for his capture or killing the same amount as for Osama bin Laden.
In neighboring Jordan, authorities detained al-Zarqawi's nephew near the border with Iraq, a distant relative and a clergyman close to the family said Thursday.
The clergyman and the relative, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said security officials had informed the family that Mohammed al-Harahsheh was detained last month. The relative said al-Harahsheh was being questioned on suspicion of attempting to infiltrate into Iraq to join his militant uncle.
Calls to Al-Zarqawi's family home in Zarqa, an industrial city northeast of the Jordanian capital, Amman, went unanswered.
Also, the senior U.S. Marine commander in Iraq said the U.S.-led offensive launched last week in Fallujah has ''broken the back of the insurgency'' by seizing their main base of operations.
''We feel right now that we have, as I mentioned, broken the back of the insurgency. We've taken away this safe haven,'' Lt. Gen. John Sattler told reporters at the Pentagon in a video teleconference from Fallujah.