U.S. forces fight Zombie army in Iraq: How many "top lieutenants" can a man have?

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class=img_thumbleft>When it comes to fighting the Iraqi insurgency, U.S. forces are discovering that there is a lot of Number Two.

On a steady basis, U.S. and Iraqi officials boast that they have captured or killed a "key aide" to Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The associates are rounded up in raids, shot during showdowns, bombed in hideouts. Yet a new "lieutenant"--or at least a new nom de guerre--seems to materialize almost instantly to take his place.

The news accounts listed below chronicle the monthly liquidation of Zarqawi's entourage. While the U.S. Army struggles to refill its ranks, Zarqaqi's Al Tawhid group--like McDonald's--seems to have no shortage of fresh applications.

U.S. Kills al-Qaida Suspect's Key Aide

U.S. troops killed a key lieutenant to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a militant with suspected ties to al-Qaida, the military said Tuesday. Abu Mohammed Hamza, believed to have been a bombmaker for al-Zarqawi, was killed Thursday in Habaniyah after U.S. troops came under fire while distributing leaflets, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said. The troops returned fire, killing Hamza, he said. --Associated Press, February 24, 2004

Top Zarqawi aide killed in US attack near Baghdad

A top aide to suspected Al-Qaeda operative Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi has been killed in a US attack near Baghdad, an internet site and a Jordanian newspaper reported Wednesday. "Abu Anas al-Shami, who heads Tawhid wal Jihad's Sharia (Islamic law) department, was killed a week ago in an American attack on his car in Abu Ghraib," west of the capital, according to the website http://arab.moheet.com/. In Amman, Al-Ghad newspaper quoted the family of Jordanian-born Shami, whose real name is Omar Yussif Jumaa, as saying he had been killed in a US rocket attack Friday and that he was considered Zarqawi's number two in Iraq. --Agence France Presse, September 22, 2004

U.S. Military: Al-Zarqawi Aide Killed

The U.S. military said Tuesday that an aide to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in an airstrike in the militant stronghold of Fallujah. The 3 a.m. strike hit a known safehouse being used by al-Zarqawi's terrorist network, killing a "known associate," a military statement said.... "Recent strikes and raids targeting the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi network have severely degraded its ability to conduct attacks," the U.S. statement said. --Associated Press, October 26, 2004

Al-Zarqawi Aide Caught In Chemical Bomb Lab Discovered During Fallujah Sweep

Iraqi officials Thursday announced the capture of a key aide to Jordanian terrorist suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and said soldiers had discovered a "chemical bomb" factory in Fallujah, even as insurgent rocket attacks brought death to a camp of Nepalese security contractors in the center of Baghdad. The U.S. military announced troops discovered a huge weapons cache in a mosque compound in Fallujah and said another 81 insurgent suspects had been arrested during an ongoing sweep of an area south of Baghdad. Meanwhile, Basra's police chief said his men had captured several foreign fighters who had fled Fallujah. Iraqi National Security Adviser Qassem Dawoud identified the seized al-Zarqawi lieutenant as Abu Saeed and said he had been captured in Mosul in northern Iraq a few days ago. But he declined to say whether Saeed was Iraqi and what role he played in al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida-affiliated organization, which has claimed credit for several beheadings and car bombings. St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 26, 2004

Iraq says aide to Zarqawi killed, two arrested

An aide to Iraq's most-wanted man, Jordanian Islamist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed in Iraq and two others captured, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said Tuesday. "I have been told that an individual by the name of Hassan Ibrahim Farhan Zyda from Zarqawi's group has been killed and that two of his deputies have been arrested," Allawi told the interim national assembly. --AFP, December 14, 2004

Iraqis Report Seizure of 2 Aides To the Most Wanted Militant

Security forces in Iraq have captured two senior aides to the most wanted militant in Iraq, his top bomb-maker and his propaganda chief, a government spokesman said Monday. The captured bomb-maker, Sami Muhammad Ali Said al-Jaaf, was seized in Baghdad on Jan. 15. He is believed to have taken part in three-quarters of the car bombings in the capital since the war began, the spokesman, Thaier al-Naqib, said in a written statement....Mr. Naqib said Mr. Jaaf also used the name Abu Omar al-Kurdi and is considered to be a lieutenant of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who has a $25 million bounty on his head. Mr. Naqib also issued a later statement saying that on Jan. 14 security forces captured Mr. Zarqawi's chief of propaganda, Hasam Hamad Abdullah Muhsin al-Dulaimi, known as Dr. Hassan. Mr. Dulaimi had not served long in the post; he took the job after American-led forces killed the former propaganda chief, Hassan Ibrahim, in a Baghdad raid on Dec. 13, Mr. Naqib said. --New York Times, January 25, 2005

Iraq announces arrest of two top Zarqawi aides

The Iraqi government said Friday it had arrested two close aides of Al-Qaeda frontman in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of whom was described as his Baghdad commander. Salah Salam Dubaig al-Ubaidi, also known as Abu Saif, and Ali Mohamed Yassin Al-Isssawi were captured in Baghdad on January 15 and 17 respectively, Iraq's National Security Advisor Qassem Daoud told reporters. Daoud identified Abu Saif as the main commander for Zarqawi in the Baghdad area. "The guy you see on the screen was named by Zarqawi his emir in Baghdad. He met with Zarqawi more than 40 times over the last three months," Daoud said. "He was arranging (Zarqawi's) meetings and providing (him) logistical and financial support." --AFP, January 28, 2005

Zarqawi Aide Held, Iraq Says; Suspect allegedly was a key deputy in charge of logistics for the Jordanian militant

The Iraqi government said Friday that its soldiers had captured a key aide to Jordanian militant Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of an insurgent network suspected of killing more than 500 people in a wave of car bombings, assassinations and beheadings. The capture is the latest made in a string of raids conducted in Baghdad, Mosul and western Iraq that have reportedly netted top Zarqawi lieutenants and soldiers. Iraqi and U.S. military authorities say they have caught or killed more than half a dozen of his operatives since January, including the network's top bomb maker and its website designer. In a statement Friday, the government said Iraqi forces had captured Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman Dulaymi, responsible for "arranging safe houses and transportation as well as passing packages and funds to Zarqawi." "Abu Qutaybah was responsible for determining who, when and how terrorist network leaders would meet with Zarqawi," the government said. "His extensive contacts and operational ability throughout western Iraq made him a critical figure in the Zarqawi network." --Los Angeles Times, February 26, 2005

Zarqawi aid captured in 2004 in Baghdad

The Pentagon said Friday a top aide to Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi was captured in Baghdad in late 2004. The man, a Jordanian who lived for 20 years in the United States and became a naturalized American citizen, is believed to have been a personal emissary for Zarqawi to several Iraqi cities, according to a U.S. government official. When he was captured by coalition forces last year in his Baghdad residence he was found with bomb-making equipment and other weapons. --UPI, April 1, 2005

Zarqawi Top Aide Bagged--Hit Plot Foiled

A deputy of al Qaeda's chief in Iraq has been captured while preparing to assassinate an Iraqi bigwig, officials announced yesterday. Ammar al-Zubaydi, an aide to terror boss Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was seized in Baghdad on Thursday, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. Al-Zubaydi, also known as Abu Abbas, was the emir, or leader, of the Baghdad cell of Zarqawi's operation. --New York Post, May 9, 2005

U.S. and Iraqi Troops Capture a Top Militant Leader in Mosul

Mohammed Sharkawa, the militant leader who leads Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's operations in northern Iraq, was seized Tuesday afternoon in a home in western Mosul after aerial reconnaissance and a tip from a local resident helped pinpoint his whereabouts, American military officials in Mosul and Baghdad said Thursday.... The impact of his capture ''will be significant,'' Lt. Gen. James T. Conway added. ''He has been in charge of the operation up there for a long time.'' --NYT, June 16, 2005

Suspected leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq captured

U.S.-led coalition forces have captured two alleged leaders of the insurgent group al Qaeda in Iraq, including a man suspected in the death of an Egyptian envoy, an American military spokesman said Thursday. Troops caught Khamis Farhan Khalaf abd al Fahdawi, also known as Abu Seba, on Saturday in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, after intelligence led them there. Abu Seba reportedly is a senior lieutenant for` Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and is suspected in this month's attacks on Bahraini and Pakistani diplomats and the killing of Ihab al-Sherif, who came to Iraq to be Egypt's ambassador.... In addition, forces detained Abdulla Ibrahim Muhammed Hassan al Shadad, also known as Abu Abdul Aziz, on Sunday in Baghdad. He reportedly is the leader of al-Zarqawi's operations in the Iraqi capital and a key officer for the insurgent group. --CNN, July 14, 2005

U.S. military says al-Qaida lieutenant killed in Mosul

A lieutenant of al-Qaida terror boss Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed by Iraqi security forces in Mosul, the U.S. military said Sunday. Mohammed Salah Sultan, also known as Abu Zubair, was killed Friday, the U.S. statement said. The statement said Abu Zubair was a "known member of al-Qaida in Iraq" and an al-Zarqawi lieutenant who was sought for his role in a July suicide bombing of a police station in Mosul in which five Iraqi police were killed. --AP, August 14, 2005

U.S. Says It Has Killed No. 2 Qaeda Operative in Iraq

"Two American officials said in Washington on Monday that Abu Azzam, a top lieutenant to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terrorist group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, had been killed in an operation involving Central Intelligence Agency officers. A senior military official said Abu Azzam was a senior financier in Mr. Zarqawi's network, and was killed Sunday." --NYT, September 27, 2005

Update: Yesterday, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answered questions about the recent killing of Zarqawi "number two" Abu Azzam. As reported in the A.P.:

"The nation's top military officer said Tuesday that the killing last weekend of a senior leader of the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization will hurt the terrorists but perhaps only in the short term. "'It will have some effect, but over time they will replace people,' Myers said. "'There are others, foreign fighters, marching to the guns on a regular basis,' who can be promoted to leadership roles,' he added."

Coincidentally, it was Myers' last press conference in uniform, coming a few days before the general's retirement.

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