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US Military Acts on Intelligence Gathered Following Zarqawi's Death

  • VOA News

The U.S. military is acting on intelligence gathered following the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in hopes of dismantling his al-Qaida in Iraq network.

A U.S. military spokesman, Major General William Caldwell, says nearly 40 raids were conducted across Iraq overnight Friday, some directly related to information found in the house where Zarqawi died.

General Caldwell says coalition troops have found suicide belts, automatic weapons, Iraqi Army uniforms and other military gear. He said one person was killed and at least 24 were arrested.

Despite the death of Zarqawi, President Bush said on Friday it is too early to say when Iraqi security forces will be able to take charge of security in the country.

He said talks next week with U.S. national security advisors and military commanders will help determine when U.S. troops might be able to leave Iraq.

Mr. Bush said the talks at Camp David, his presidential retreat near Washington will focus on analyzing what Baghdad's "blueprint for the future will look like."

He noted Zarqawi's death is "a major blow to al-Qaida." He said it is not going to end the war in Iraq but is going to help a lot.

The Jordanian-born Zarqawi was said to have personally taken part in a bloody campaign of beheadings of hostages and other killings. He was killed in a U.S. air strike Wednesday when jets dropped two 227-kilogram bombs on a "safe house" near Baquba, northeast of Baghdad.

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