Officials Hope $10 Million Bounty Will Help Capture Zarqawi
Officials Hope $10 Million
Bounty Will Help Capture Zarqawi
By Rudi Williams, American Forces
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS)
June 26, 2004 – When the United States put $15 million each on the heads of
Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay Hussein, it took only about week for
someone to turn them in.
That's precisely what coalition officials hope will happen
with the $10 million bounty on the head of fugitive Jordanian terrorist Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi, according to Dan Senor, spokesman for the Coalition
Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq.
On Feb. 12, the State Department announced that Secretary of
State Colin Powell authorized the doubling of the reward for information on
Zarqawi. At the time, Powell described Zarqawi as a "close associate" of al
Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The reward was increased from $5 million to $10
million for information on Zarqawi's location.
"We have very credible intelligence and believe that Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis," Senor
told reporters at a Baghdad news conference today. "He's responsible for the
deaths of Americans, in some cases before Operation Iraqi Freedom. We believe he
has been operating inside Iraq for some time, based on a document we've obtained
and other intelligence that corroborates it."
Senor said the coalition believes Zarqawi is carrying out a
plan designed to wreak havoc inside Iraq in an effort to throw off the
transition to a self- governing Iraqi democracy.
"This is in his battle plan, which was headed for senior al
Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan," Senor noted. "He regarded the handover of
sovereignty to the self-governing Iraqi democracy as one of the biggest threats
to his efforts. It would in fact require him to literally pick up and move
somewhere else if the June 30 handover were successful."
The captured document was in the possession of a messenger
affiliated with the Zarqawi network whom the coalition detained, he said.
"The document outlined quite clearly a battle plan for Iraq
that, if you look at recent attacks, is consistent with the battle plan he (Zarqawi)
laid out months ago," Senor noted. "Particularly the focus on trying to provoke
sectarian warfare in this country and also the focus on the June 30 handover and
the urgency that it required, according to Zarqawi.
"The document took credit for a number of attacks that have
occurred in this country," Senor continued. "We had additional information that
confirmed for us that this document was in fact authored by Zarqawi."
Senor said the coalition doesn't know how close it came to
killing Zarqawi during the bombing of a terrorist safe house June 25. "We know
that during the operation, a number of vehicles were at that location. Once the
building went down, a number of vehicles drove away. It's the coalition's
assessment that Zarqawi and some of his key leaders could have been in the
vehicles. Only time will tell."
Zarqawi's plan also calls for pitting one community in Iraq
against another by provoking one to engage in reprisals against another, Senor
"Now there's a $10 million reward out for any information
that would lead to our putting Mr. Zarqawi out of business," he said.
Anyone in Iraq who has information related to Zarqawi should
get it to coalition or Iraqi government officials as soon as possible, Senor
said. "In the case of Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam Hussein's sons, the
information that led to the killing of them was the quickest-turnaround reward
program in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice rewards program," he
noted. He emphasized that the people who turned in Uday and Qusay were paid in
about a week and were provided safe harbor.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for
Multinational Force Iraq, added to Senor's comments about capturing or killing
Zarqawi. "He remains the No. 1 target inside this country," Kimmitt noted. "He's
a very effective terrorist, as we've seen by the number of the attacks he has
carried out. It's not just for the money, but it's also for what this country
stands for and what this country will forward towards."
Kimmitt said the coalition needs all citizens in Iraq to
understand they have a role in the hunt for Zarqawi. "Any piece of information,
any intelligence that any citizen of this country has regarding the Zarqawi
network or Zarqawi himself, we ask them to bring it forward to the Iraqi
security forces or to the Iraqi government," the general said.
"We're committed to supporting the Iraqi security forces in
the hunt for Zarqawi," Kimmitt noted. "We continue to strike known safe houses
in the Fallujah area. We know he operates throughout the country. The sooner we
can bring this man to justice -- the sooner we can kill or capture Zarqawi --
the sooner we can remove this scourge from the country of Iraq."