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Iraqi Forces Kill al Qaeda Leader

IED Kills Marine; Coalition, Iraqi Forces Kill al Qaeda Leader

American Forces Press Service

A Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed by an improvised explosive device Sept. 24 in Khalidiyah, Iraq, military officials reported today.

The Marine's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

In other developments, Iraqi security and coalition forces killed the second-most-wanted al Qaeda terrorist in Iraq, Abdallah Najim Abdallah Muhammad al-Juwari, otherwise known as Abu Azzam, the al Qaeda in Iraq "emir of Baghdad," during an early morning raid Sept. 25 in Baghdad.

Abu Azzam was the operational commander for fugitive Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq network, and he was responsible for the upsurge in violent attacks in the city since April, officials said.

Multiple intelligence sources and corroborating information from a close associate of Abu Azzam led coalition and Iraqi security forces to the terrorist safe house where he was hiding. The mission was designed to capture him, but Abu Azzam fired on the forces, and their return fire killed him, officials said.

"We continue to decimate the leadership of the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network and continue to disrupt their operations," said Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "By taking Abu Azzam off the street, another close associate of (Zarqawi, we have dealt another serious blow to Zarqawi's terrorist organization."

Abu Azzam had served as the terrorist emir of Anbar province for much of 2004 and led the largest group of al Qaeda in Iraq fighters in Fallujah during autumn 2004 until coalition forces defeated them during Operation Dawn. In spring 2005, he assumed the position of emir of Baghdad, in which he reportedly directed and controlled all terrorist activity and operations in and around the city.

In other news from Iraq, Iraqi and coalition forces found and seized two weapons caches Sept. 26 west of Rawah. Troops from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force, were conducting a combined area reconnaissance mission with coalition forces when the caches were detected. The stashes were located within 600 meters of each other.

An inventory of the first cache produced 60 shotgun shells, five 40 mm grenades, 100 feet of detonation cord and a rifle magazine with ammunition. The second cache contained small arms ammunition, a rocket-propelled grenade, two spare rifle barrels, three AK-47 magazines and a gas mask. No injuries or damages were reported.

Elsewhere, Task Force Baghdad soldiers, acting on a tip from an Iraqi citizen, seized a weapons cache hidden in western Baghdad on Sept. 25.

Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, discovered 85 mortar rounds, 14 rockets, two artillery rounds, and three mortar tubes. The cache also contained eight rocket-propelled-grenade launchers with 144 RPGs and 30 RPG chargers, three anti-tank weapons, 20 hand grenades, two machine guns, two assault rifles, 23 recoilless-rifle rounds, and 75 pounds of ammunition.

The patrol found bomb-making materials and 100 feet of detonation cord at the site as well. They secured the site to deny terrorists from returning and using the munitions in the future.

In the air war over Iraq, coalition aircraft flew 29 close-air-support and armed-reconnaissance sorties Sept. 26 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities, and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities, officials said.

U.S. Air Force F-16s provided close air support to coalition troops near Miqdadiyah. Ten U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. British Royal Air Force fighter aircraft also performed in a nontraditional ISR role with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

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