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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Announces Capture of Zarqawi 'Key Associate'

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2005 Multinational forces captured a "key associate" of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Apr. 26 in a raid conducted in western Iraq, officials announced today.

Ghassan Muhammad Amin Husayn al-Rawi was described as the amir, or leader, of Rawah, Iraq. He is accused of coordinating meetings for senior members, helping move and set up meetings for al-Zarqawi in the Rawah region, and helping move foreign fighters and being "allegedly ... responsible for terrorist activity resulting in the murder of innocent Iraqis," Multinational Force Iraq officials said in a release.

Coalition forces conducted three consecutive late April raids to capture Ghassan Amin and his followers. In the first one, forces discovered a car-bomb factory three kilometers west of Rawah linked to Ghassan Amin.

Inside that warehouse, forces found four vehicles being prepared as car bombs, about 200 bags of ammonium phosphate, two DSKH 38/46 12.7 mm machine guns and ammunition. The coalition destroyed the warehouse and its contents.

In the second raid, two Ghassan Amin associates were captured, and the third one netted the amir himself.

According to statements provided by Iraqi Rawah residents, Ghassan Amin and his network terrorized the local citizens by stealing cars to convert into bombs and allegedly kidnapping Iraqis for profit to further support the purchase of weapons and ammunition.

"Ghassan Amin runs Rawah and nobody does anything without Ghassan Amin's approval," said one male who had been temporarily detained due to his proximity with Ghassan Amin during the third raid. "Ghassan Amin is well-known in Rawah, and it is well-known that he is part of the mujahadeen. Ghassan Amin destroyed the police station and the headquarters of the Islamic party of Rawah."

In a raid days before his capture, forces found several weapons caches buried near a farm belonging to Ghassan Amin. Because of the large amount, the weapons and ammunition were destroyed in place.

The release noted that Ghassan Amin admitted to meeting al-Zarqawi once in January and allowed the terrorist leader to reside with one of his relatives for about five days.

"Iraqi Security and Coalition forces continue to capture or kill high level terrorists associated with Zarqawi, seize and destroy large amounts of bomb making material, and prevent terrorist attacks on a regular basis," the MNFI release stated. "The capture of Ghassan Amin removes a significant leader of terrorism from the now safer streets of Rawah."

(Based on a Multinational Force Iraq release.)

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