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American Forces Press Service

Abu Ghraib Attack Planner Caught

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2005 Multinational forces reported today capturing Abu al Abbas, a wanted associate of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in Baghdad May 5.

Among the documents seized in his capture were plans to assassinate Iraqi government leaders, according to a Multinational Force Iraq news release.

Abu al Abbas was allegedly the key planner for both the April 2 attack on Abu Ghraib and the series of car-bomb attacks carried out April 29 around Baghdad. The al-Zarqawi terrorist network has publicly claimed both the Abu Ghraib attack and the multiple car-bomb explosions that killed scores of innocent Iraqis.

Abu al Abbas was found at his home during the May 5 raid. He confirmed that documents - letters, notes and sketches - contained plans and intelligence for an operation to assassinate a prominent Iraqi government official.

In addition to his involvement in assassination plans, officials said Abu al Abbas provided a host of support to insurgents, from explosive devices, to coordinating suicide bombers, to helping foreign fighters get into Iraq to orchestrating the several bombing operations in recent weeks, to include the Abu Ghraib attack April 2 and the car-bomb attacks on April 29.

He confessed to stealing 300 to 400 rockets and more than 720 cases of plastic explosives from a weapons facility in Yussifiyah in early 2003. He claimed he buried some of the stolen weapons and explosives material at his farm in Yussifiyah and stored the remaining stolen weapons and explosives at two other underground sites located near his farm.

Abu al Abbas claimed the stockpile located at his farm was exhausted for use as road and car bombs while coalition forces found and destroyed the remaining weapons and explosive material buried at the two outlying storage sites.

The captured al-Zarqawi associate admitted to providing explosive devices to Umar al-Kurdi, the notorious bomber responsible for preparing and detonating over 75 percent of all vehicle bombs in Baghdad prior to his capture Jan. 15. Abu al Abbas gave Abu Umar access to his stockpile of explosives during a one-month period spanning from December 2004 to January 2005.

In that timeframe, Abu Umar reportedly constructed about 10 car bombs near or on Abu al Abbas' farm. Abu al Abbas claimed Abu Umar and a suicide bomber would each drive a car from Baghdad to his location in Yussifiyah. Abu Umar would then prepare one vehicle for detonation and always instruct the suicide bomber to drive the newly constructed car bomb back to Baghdad for future attacks.

Another known al-Zarqawi associate, Ghassan Amin, was captured April 26 and too has provided key information on the recent insurgent activities.

(Based on a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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