BAGHDAD, Iraq – American and Iraqi forces have carried out 452 raids since
last week’s killing of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and 104 insurgents were killed during those actions, the U.S. military said Thursday.
He said 255 of the raids were joint operations, while 143 were carried out
by Iraqi forces alone. The raids also resulted in the captures of 759
Iraqi police reported more violence near where Zarqawi was killed June 7 by
a U.S. airstrike. Gunmen shot and killed 10 Shiites on Thursday after
pulling them off a bus in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.
The 10 men – nine workers at the city’s industrial area and the driver –
were between the ages of 20 and 45 and were heading back to their homes, a
police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized
to speak to the media.
The workers include three brothers and six other relatives. The gunmen sped
away in two black Opel sedans, the officer said.
Iraq’s national security adviser called the information seized after the
raid on Zarqawi’s hideout a “huge treasure” of documents and computer
records that had given the Iraqi government the upper hand in its fight
National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie also said he believed the
security situation in the country would improve enough to allow a large
number of U.S. and Coalition forces to leave Iraq by the end of this year,
and a majority to depart by the end of next year. “And maybe the last
soldier will leave Iraq by mid-2008,” he said.
Al-Rubaie said a laptop, flashdrive and other documents were found in the
debris at the house outside Baqouba, and more information has been uncovered
in raids of other insurgent hideouts since then.
“We believe that this is the beginning of the end of Al Qaeda in Iraq,”
al-Rubaie said, adding that the documents showed Al Qaeda is in “pretty bad
shape,” politically and in terms of training, weapons and media.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, pressed forward with his
Baghdad. Government forces fanned out across Baghdad for a second day,
setting up checkpoints and frisking motorists.
Al-Maliki has promised the crackdown would not target any ethnic or
Gunmen killed an engineer and kidnapped another, and a detergent factory
worker was shot to death as he was headed to work elsewhere in western
Baghdad, police said, but no major violence was reported in the capital.
Elsewhere, however, gunmen stormed a Sunni mosque near Tikrit, killing four
people and wounding 15, including a fundamentalist Sunni cleric who has
spoken out against the killing of Iraqis as part of the insurgency.
The security crackdown in Baghdad includes a curfew extended by 4 1/2 hours
– from 8:30 p.m. until dawn – and a weapons ban. The government did not say
how long the crackdown would last and declined to give precise numbers about
checkpoints and troops.