Top Al-Qaida Operative Chief Killed in Syria

October 28, 2008 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

faysal-el-abdullah-sisters.jpgA top al-Qaida in Iraq operative killed during a U.S. raid on a Syrian
compound just over the Iraq border was about to carry out an attack in
Iraq, U.S. officials say.

The operative, known as Abu Ghadiyah, was the leader of the most
prolific network that moves foreign fighters linked to al-Qaida into
Iraq. He was the target of the Sunday afternoon raid on the compound in
Sukkariyeh, Syria.

Last spring U.S. intelligence picked up
similar reports Abu Ghadiyah was planning an attack in Iraq. The
information — not detailed enough to act on — was followed by the
murder of 11 Iraqi policemen. Abu Ghadiyah personally led the attack, a
senior U.S. official told The Associated Press.

“The trip wire was knowing an attack was imminent, and also being able to pinpoint his location,” the official said Monday.

The officials spoke anonymously to discuss sensitive intelligence matters.

Abu Ghadiyah is the nickname for Badran Turki Hishan Al Mazidih.

attack was carried out to coincide with the customary late afternoon
rest period. A ground attack was chosen over a missile strike to reduce
the chances of civilian casualties.

Syria said troops in four helicopters attacked a building and killed eight people, including four children.

raid capped nearly a year of debate among the CIA, U.S. special forces
and commanders in Iraq about how to handle the Syrian tributary of the
Iraq foreign fighter problem, according to a former intelligence
official and a current U.S. military official who deals with Iraq.

United States has been asking Syria to hand over Abu Ghadiyah for
months or years. Syria rebuffed the U.S. request, saying it was
monitoring Abu Ghadiyah’s activities, said a former military official
with direct recent knowledge of U.S. intelligence in western Iraq.

raid came just days after the commander of U.S. forces in western Iraq
said American troops were redoubling efforts to secure the Syrian
border, which he called an “uncontrolled” gateway for fighters entering

Selective U.S. military action across the borders of
nations friendly and unfriendly is a demonstration of overt military
strength that the U.S. has been reluctant to display in public for fear
it would backfire on U.S. forces or supporters within these governments.

senior U.S. officials favor judicious use of the newly aggressive
tactics, seeing more upsides than down. They reason that whatever
diplomatic damage is done will be mitigated when President Bush leaves
office and a new president is inaugurated.

That may work in
Syria, where the government has already said it is looking forward to a
better relationship with the next U.S. president, said Anthony
Cordesman, a Middle East expert with the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington.

In Pakistan, however, special operations raids could box in the new American president by inflaming an already outraged public.

opinion is already very strongly against the U.S. and ‘anti’ any U.S.
role or interference,” Cordesman said. “It’s not clear that you are not
building up a broad public resistance that will bind the next

Source: AP


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