Terrorist al-Zarqawi eluded U.S. raid

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. forces in Iraq believe they just missed capturing most-wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a February raid that netted two of his associates, a senior U.S. military official said Tuesday.

The official, who discussed the operation on the condition of anonymity, could provide no details on how al-Zarqawi escaped. U.S. forces recovered a computer belonging to al-Zarqawi, the official said, although he did not say how it was obtained.

Iraqi officials announced the Feb. 20 raid at the time but did not say al-Zarqawi was the target.

At a Pentagon news conference, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would only say, "we were close," but declined to elaborate, citing concerns about disclosing operational details.

Al-Zarqawi, who has a $25 million bounty on his head, is believed to have orchestrated a relentless wave of car bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and beheadings across the country.

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