Officials Discuss Zarqawi, Al Qaeda
By Jim Garamone
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a shadowy figure affiliated with al Qaeda
who is helping to plan and carry out anti-coalition attacks in
Iraq, Defense Department officials said here today.
Lawrence Di Rita and Joint Staff Operations spokesman Army Brig.
Gen. David Rodriguez said Zarqawi is one of the 10 or 15 most
important terrorists for the coalition to kill or capture. The
two men spoke during a Pentagon news conference.
follows Army Gen. John Abizaid’s revelation that Zarqawi was linked
to attacks in Baghdad and Karbala that killed almost more than
100 Shiia pilgrims and wounded more than 500. Abizaid commands
the U.S. Central Command.
fits in the al Qaeda puzzle is a question U.S. officials are trying
to work out. He is Jordan-born and has been affiliated with Ansar
al-Islam, a terrorist group that has operated in Iraq for years.
Zarqawi has known links to al Qaeda.
al Qaeda network is a huge puzzle," Rodriguez said. "It’s
a network that’s tough to put all the lines and faces in places.
Zarqawi has a long-term affiliation with al Qaeda."
the tactics, techniques and procedures that the terrorists are
using against Iraqis are straight out of the al Qaeda strategy.
Abizaid said coalition intelligence pointed to a link between
Zarqawi and former regime intelligence officials. Neither Di Rita
nor Rodriquez would go beyond that statement.
Haiti, Rodriguez said about 1,000 U.S. Marines are in and around
the capital of Port-au-Prince. They have been joined by about
600 troops from Canada, France and Chile. He said the Haitian
police are back on the job and handling most law enforcement situations
in the capital.
said U.S. Southern Command is working with friends in the region
who wish to help the effort. Di Rita said the State Department
also is speaking to allies about providing troops to stabilize
force – which the United States leads – is setting
the groundwork for a United Nations Multinational Force. The interim
force has a mandate for the next three months.