RealNews

Rebel Fighters Who Fled Attack May Now Be Active Elsewhere

Insurgent leaders in Falluja probably fled before the American-led offensive and may be coordinating attacks in Iraq that have left scores dead over the past few days, according to American military officials here. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who is the most wanted man in Iraq, has almost certainly fled, military officials believe. Americans say his group is responsible for attacks, kidnappings and beheadings that have killed hundreds in more than a year. Before the offensive began, some military officials said Mr. Zarqawi could be operating out of Falluja, but his precise whereabouts have not been known. “I personally believe some of the senior leaders probably have fled,” Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz, commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, said in a video conference with reporters on Tuesday. “I would hope not, but I’ve got to assume that those kinds of leaders understand the combat power we can bring.” Insurgent attacks continued to exact a heavy toll across Iraq on Tuesday. Two American soldiers died in a mortar attack in Mosul, where government authority appears to be ebbing. Gunmen assassinated a senior government official in Samarra. Guerrillas fired mortars at police stations in downtown Baghdad while hundreds of fighters massed in the center of the provincial capital of Ramadi, just 30 miles west of Falluja.Full Story

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