RealNews

Allies Hunt for Clues on Al Qaeda

The compound that the United States called a terrorists’ poison factory is no more. All that remains are ruined buildings, a flattened fence and a littered yard. Its inhabitants are gone. At least nine precision-guided weapons struck this place, judging by the tightly spaced craters where the weapons hit the earth and exploded, showering the area with cascading bits of building, rock and dirt. The aerial attack, launched a week ago, marked the opening American strike against Ansar al-Islam, an Islamic militant group that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has described as the link between Baghdad and Al Qaeda. Ansar was defeated as a military force over the past three days in a coordinated ground attack by Kurdish fighters and American Special Forces soldiers. As many as 40 Muslim fighters were killed in this village on the first day, the beginning of a rout that is now coming to a close. More than 250 fighters are thought to have been killed in all, according to Kurdish casualty estimates. Full Story

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