Is Zarqawi dead?
Compiled by DiL staff in Portland, Oregon.
Scroll down for updates. (This post bumped to top. Originally posted November 20.)
Morning Report noted a news bulletin stating that eight al-Qaeda leaders had been killed in Mosul, Iraq. Now via Little Green Footballs (from LGF reader Carl) there's a report at the Jerusalem Post that the dead include Abu Musab al-Zarqawi himself - the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq:
At least one Arab television media outlet reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of the al-Qaida in Iraq, was killed in Iraq on Sunday afternoon when eight terrorists blew themselves up in the in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
The unconfirmed report claimed that the explosions occurred after coalition forces surrounded the house in which al-Zarqawi was hiding. ...
Full article at the link. Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE from Debka: 'DEBKAfile Exclusive: US forces and forensic experts are examining the bodies of eight high-ranking al Qaeda leaders in Mosul to find out if their chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is among them.
November 20, 2005, 8:28 PM (GMT+02:00)
A sample of his DNA is in American possession for a match-up.
The bodies they are trying to identify are of 7 men and one woman, who blew themselves up Sunday, Nov. 20, after their hideout in northern Iraq was under siege by a large US force, backed by tanks and helicopters. The bodies are burned black and unrecognizable. Four Iraqi security officers were killed and 10 injured in the operation.
DEBKAfile’s military sources add that also Sunday, US and Iraqi forces raided al Qaeda sanctuaries in Baghdad and captured several suspects. They followed an intelligence tip which confirmed DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s disclosure (Issue 227 Oct. 28) of the arrival of Zarqawi and his top team to Baghdad on Oct. 15.'
UPDATE: Iraq the Model weighs in, with information from al-Mada:
"Al-Mada paper said that terrorists hiding in a house fired back at American and Iraqi troops that were surrounding the house in a battle that lasted from dawn to noon on Saturday (Jerusalem Post said it was Sunday)`after receiving intelligence about a meeting for senior al-Qaeda members.
The terrorists blew up the house when an Iraqi assault team tried to break into the house, the blast killed four Iraqi soldiers and wounded ten policemen and also killed all of the hiding terrorists.
Eight charred bodies were found in the scene, one of them belongs to a woman.
An Iraqi security official in Mosul said that US forces will most likely conduct DNA tests on the found bodies to verify whether or not Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi was among the killed terrorists."
Go to ITM for the full post.
UPDATE: Now being reported by AP at Yahoo News by AP's Robert Reid (h/t: Original Jeff at ITM comments):
"BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgent attacks killed an American soldier near Baghdad and a British trooper in the south Sunday, as U.S. forces sealed off a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected al-Qaida members died in a gunfight — some by their hand to avoid capture.
In Washington, a U.S. counterterrorism official said the identities of the suspected al-Qaida members was unknown. Asked if they could include terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the official replied: "There are efforts under way to determine if he was killed.
The official said spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information..."
Same story being carried now at KBCI 2, Boise.
INDIRECTLY RELATED: Morocco is conducting a counter-terror sting at this moment.
AFP via Turkish Press:
"Moroccan security forces arrested 17 Islamic extremists with ties to the Al-Qaeda network as they were setting up a terrorist cell, officials in Rabat said.
"The Moroccan security services have just dismantled a terrorist structure as it was being formed," a statement said, adding that the suspects would be charged on Monday.
The network was "composed of 17 elements linked to the radical Islamic movement having connections with small groups emerging at the Iraqi border and maintaining close ties with senior members of the Al-Qaeda organization," it said.
The arrests were followed by a security alert at airports, harbours, train stations, shopping centres and embassies throughout the country.
Ten days previously, a group calling itself the Islamic Tawhid Wal Jihad Group of Morocco, a name formerly used by Al Qaeda's Iraq frontman Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, announced that it had declared war on the Moroccan state and King Mohammed VI.
Security officials dismissed the declaration as not credible."
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Earlier today, Stratfor (subscription) published this item:
1623 GMT - Coalition forces in Iraq captured a major al Qaeda in Iraq member in an Oct. 31 raid on a Baghdad safe-house, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said Nov. 20. According to CENTCOM, Uthman Faruq Muhammad Abd-al-Hamid (aka Abu Ibrahim) was a technician, advisor and supplier of components for improvised explosive devices and other electronic and communication components. Abu Ibrahim also allegedly was part of the jihadist networkÕs propaganda unit in Iraq, supplying video equipment and computer programs.
UPDATE: AP's Chris Tomlinson via Baltimore Sun:
"BAGHDAD, Iraq // U.S. forces sealed off a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected al-Qaida members died in a gunfight -some by their own hand to avoid capture. A U.S. official said Sunday that efforts were under way to determine if terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead.
Insurgents, meanwhile, killed an American soldier and a Marine in separate attacks over the weekend, while a British soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in the south.
In Washington, a U.S. official said the identities of the terror suspects killed was unknown. Asked if they could include al-Zarqawi, the official replied: "There are efforts under way to determine if he was killed."
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
American soldiers maintained control of the site, imposing extraordinary security measures..."
Read the rest at the link.
UPDATE: Stratfor has this:
2128 GMT - Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may have been killed in Iraq, the Jerusalem Post reported Nov. 20, citing the Elaph Arabic language media Web site. According to Elaph, al-Zarqawi may have been among a group of eight insurgents killed after their safe-house was surrounded by coalition forces in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, 225 miles north of Baghdad. According to Iraqi officials, an intense gunbattle erupted after U.S. and Iraqi forces surrounded the farmhouse at dawn on Nov. 19. Three insurgents reportedly blew themselves up and the others were killed by small-arms fire.
UPDATE: Dr. Sanity has more:
"FOXNEWS is now reporting all of the above!! Bret Beir has talking to U.S. officials at the Pentagon. A forensic team is onsight. (4:36 pm)
They are connecting the fact that Zarqawi's family is disowning him at exactly this same time. On the down side, the Pentagon is wondering why terrorist sites are acknowledging his death and whether it might be a ploy to make the US think he's dead when he isn't."
UPDATE: OSM is on it:
"The Jerusalem Post was the first to break -- off Elaph Arab media website - the possible death of al Qaeda terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Mosul yesterday. First US link: Little Green Footballs. Associated Press now chiming in. Blogger comment upcoming."
UPDATE: Atlas Shrugs says it all with this headline. Go read it all!
UPDATE: Razor Sharp Claws says: "If this is true it would be great to take his bank account so there is no more management to take over! All I can say is one down more to go! This isn’t the end of it you stupid Cindy socialist anti American crowd! Our troops are working hard in all areas! This has to be done so that we don’t have trouble on our own soil. But why am I wasting time telling you Cindy people you won’t get any of this anyway ‘too damn dense!" Read full post at link.
UPDATE: Roger Simon has some interesting observations: "JUST A THEORY: If Zarqawi has been killed... and the AP is correct that there was a tip on his whereabouts... that tip could have come from inside Al Qaeda itself or from people friendly to it. After the Amman hotel horrors, Zarqawi was the blodthirsty poster boy for the Al Qaeda Psychopath. If you believe the Zawahiri letter, they didn't need publicity like this. He had to go."
UPDATE: Tammy Bruce writes: "Let's pray this is true. Please, please, please. Let us all think happy thoughts that this freak is personally learning that it's not 72 virgins terrorist Islamists get when they die, it's 72 Virginians (perhaps Thomas Jefferson among them) who will not be kind to him." Go visit Tammy at her homepage, too - and don't forget to bookmark her on your browser!
UPDATE: Debka: "US forensic experts are examining the bodies of eight high-ranking al Qaeda leaders in Mosul to find out if their chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is among them. A White House official in Beijing called that prospect “highly unlikely and not credible.”"
UPDATE: Kilo Echo 4 has some interesting analysis (scroll down to get past the MSM news release):
It is interesting to note that nowhere in this statement is there an actual denial that Zarqawi was one of those terrorists killed in the house in Mosul! General Vines says we have the DNA to match, but does not say anything about the results of any tests, and since he says that "it is possible" he obviously is not yet in possession of the test results, or he is in possession of them and they don't want us to know what those results were!
Now they should have some test results by now, and the fact that an outright denial has not yet been issued is intriguing. With all the rampant speculation surrounding the events in Mosul, you would think that if they know for a fact that he is still alive, they would just go ahead and tell us outright instead of issuing all these "maybe yes, maybe no" statements. ...
UPDATE: US Forces are closing in on Zarqawi. 'BAGHDAD (AFP) - US forces are closing in on top Al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgent Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and expects to capture or kill him "in the not too distant future," a US general said. "We come close to Zarqawi continuously and at one point in time, in the not too distant future, we are going to get Zarqawi," Major General Rick Lynch, spokesman for the US-led multinational force in Iraq told reporters. "As a result of the degradation of his leadership, he personally now has to be more active -- he has to move more," he said, adding that it was only a matter of time before they got him. Starting on 28 September, US and Iraqi forces targeted a number of towns and suspected militant strongholds in the Euphrates River valley, saying it killed 700 insurgents and captured 1,500 others.' (AFP via Yahoo News)
UPDATE: Bill Quick of Daily Pundit:
NEWS: I just got off the phone with a spokesman at the CPIC Press Desk for the Multi-National Force - Iraq, who told me that he had no information as to the results of DNA testing - or the current progress of that testing - designed to determine whether Musab Zarqawi was killed in the raid on a house in Mosul on November 19, 2005.
The official position I was given is that MNF-I does not believe that Zarqawi was killed ...
Read the rest, with Bill's analysis, at the link; and remember to bookmark Daily Pundit.