Monday, November 21, 2005

White House Downplaying Possibility of Zarqawi Death

A White House spokesman characterized unconfirmed reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a raid on a terrorist safehouse in Mosul as, "highly unlikely and not credible". It still seems to be a safe bet that the people in the safehouse were high-value targets. Based on past experience, I'd expect it to take at least two weeks for CENTCOM to release the names, once they are identified.

From the Associated Press via Yahoo!News:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. forces sealed off a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected al-Qaida members died in a gunfight — some by their own hand to avoid capture. The White House said Sunday that it was "highly unlikely" that the terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead.

On Saturday, police Brig. Gen. Said Ahmed al-Jubouri said the raid was launched after a tip that top al-Qaida operatives, possibly including al-Zarqawi, were in the house in the northeastern part of the city.

During the intense gunbattle that followed, three insurgents detonated explosives and killed themselves to avoid capture, Iraqi officials said. Eleven Americans were wounded, the U.S. military said. Such intense resistance often suggests an attempt to defend a high-value target
In the event that Zarqawi has gone to Allah to answer for his crimes, it would be unrealistic to assume that an organization as loosely coordinated as the Iraqi terrorist insurgency would suddenly collapse with the death of one man.