Saturday, November 26, 2005

Zarqawi Aide Confirmed Dead

A family member has confirmed the death of Bilal Mahmud Awad Shebah, alias Abu Ubaydah, an important aide to al Qaeda in Iraq head terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. US intelligence analysts had believed that Ubaydah had been killed in an October 14 raid, but had not been able to obtain corroboration.

From a CENTCOM press release:
In late November, Coalition Forces received information from knowledgeable sources and a close family member of Abu Ubaydah claiming independently that Zarqawi’s confidant and gatekeeper was killed as a result of the Oct. 14 raids.

Detained members of al-Qaeda claim Abu Ubaydah served as an “executive secretary” for Zarqawi; met with Zarqawi frequently; served as a messenger and gatekeeper for Zarqawi; screened all messages and requests for meetings with Zarqawi; was one of Zarqawi’s most trusted associates; provided Zarqawi with safe house locations; and used intimidation and death threats to gain the cooperation of the Iraqi people to support al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist activity.

During the course of the raids, several weapons caches, containing mortar rounds, small arms and ammunition, were found and destroyed. Mortar rounds were also emplaced along the road leading to the safe houses, serving as improvised explosive devices against incoming vehicle or foot traffic. The forces were engaged by small-arms fire upon their arrival to the suspected terrorist location and immediately returned fire. Combining the ground attack with the use of close-air support, the terrorists’ hideout locations were destroyed.

No Coalition forces were injured or killed during the raids.
Because Abu Ubaydi was such a big fish, network news programs, even NBC, were obliged to report the confirmation of his death, despite their embargo on news of Coalition successes in Iraq.

Elsewhere in the War on Terror, US soldiers were cleared of any violation of the "Law of War" concerning the reported hygienic burning of Taliban bodies and subsequent broadcast of the event by a Psyops Unit trying to get surviving Taliban to come out and fight. The Brass did cover their own asses, however, by issuing several Soldiers administrative punishments for "displaying poor judgement". Soldiers who find themselves in possession of rotting Taliban terrorist carcasses should probably have them shipped to the Pentagon in the future, just to be safe.

A summary of the investigations is located here.