Afternoon Roundup

Debka: Al-Qaeda fugitives from Sinai run to Gaza.
The four men who turned themselves into Egyptian police Sunday, May 14, in the northern Sinai town of El Arish were not the key al Qaeda figures hunted in connection with al Qaeda’s attacks last month. The men, named as Naif Ibrahim Saleh Ameira, Abdel Gadr Suweilim Suleiman, Ismail Salama Ouda Hussein and Hatem Musellem Rashid al-Atrash, surrendered after Egyptian security forces killed Nasser Malakhi in the same town last Tuesday, May 9. Malakhi was described as ringleader of the al Qaeda network, which April 24 and 26 struck Dahab, the UFO base near el Arish and Bilbith near Ismailiyeh on the Suez. According to DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources, the Egyptians have not yet bagged the top Qaeda leaders: Tirawi Younes Abu Garib, a 25-year old driver from el Arish, Osama Zahlawi, 24, from Nahal, Sinai, Ibrahim Mohsein, from Tel El Kabir on the western Suez bank near Ismailiya, and a group of Egyptian and Palestinian farmers from the Suez region employed in al Qaeda operations. A large number of the wanted cells fled across the Egyptian border into the Gaza Strip, shepherded by the gun- and drug-running gangs working with al Qaeda and Palestinian terrorists in the border region.

Full article at the link. Debka concludes: 'Official Egyptian denial of a foreign element in the terrorist campaign plaguing the country for three years stretches to attributing the attacks to Tawhid wal Jihad, a local band of Bedouin and radical Muslims. However, in the meantime, our counter-terror sources report, Tawhid wal Jihad has been taken over by Abu Musab al Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s Iraq commander.'

CT Blog: Task Force 145 strikes near Ramadi.

Task Force 145, the mix of special operations forces assigned to hunt Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al-Qaeda in Iraq leaderships and cells, appears to have struck again, this time in Julaybah, an area “identified as a terrorist safe haven” which is located about 8 miles east of Ramadi. Three terrorists were killed and four captured during the fight. The Multinational Forces – Iraq press release provides an overview of the engagement:

Upon arrival... the Coalition troops began receiving rifle and machine gun fire. The terrorists then began to launch ineffective mortar fire from across a nearby river. Coalition Forces neutralized both the direct and indirect fire with small arms fire and close air support and simultaneously raided five structures, associated hide outs and vehicles. After killing three terrorists and detaining four others, the troops conducted a thorough search of the area. They found six affiliated vehicles, three of which were loaded with various weapons and explosives to include rifles, mortars and improvised explosive device material. The troops also uncovered numerous weapons caches with AK-47's, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds and IED material... Five safe houses, six cars, and all lethal material were destroyed on target.

Again, the tell-tail signs of a Task Force 145 operation are contained within the Multinational Forces – Iraq press release: vague details of the strike, an unidentified Coalition unit and unnamed air support, the targeting of an al-Qaeda cell, a suspected “wanted terrorist” on the target list (it is unknown if he was killed or captured during the raid), and the swift raids on multiple targets. ...

Sandmonkey on CNN:
Guys, this is super short notice, but I will be on CNN in 30 minutes at 9 pm cairo time. It will be simulcatsed at CNN america at 2 pm EST. It should be rerun also every other hour from 6 am to 11 am my time, which is GMT +2, so you figure it out. You will have the view of me talking from the back and you will see Manal (Alaa's wife) talking as well.

Gotta Go watch now. Lata!

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.