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US Troops raid Iraqi hospital

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    Troops raid hospital and seal off city in hunt for terror chief James Hider, TimesOnline www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,11069-1601032,00.html Baghdad, May
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2005
      Troops raid hospital and seal off city in hunt for terror chief
      James Hider, TimesOnline

      Baghdad, May 07, 2005 - AMERICAN soldiers have sealed off the restive
      city of Ramadi in western Iraq after troops raided its hospital in
      search of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The raid came after an apparent
      intelligence report that Iraq's leading terrorist may be ill.

      Residents of the violent Sunni Triangle city, 70 miles west of
      Baghdad, told The Times that US forces were reinforcing their
      positions around the city, prohibiting vehicles from entering and
      allowing passage only by foot through a single checkpoint. The nightly
      curfew has been brought forward from 10pm to 8pm.

      The measures have prompted speculation that US troops are preparing an
      operation to hunt down al-Zarqawi and other insurgents. "It seems like
      it's going to be another Fallujah," one worried resident said,
      referring to the US assault on the nearby city last year.

      Samir al-Obeidi, an administrator at Ramadi's hospital, said that
      American troops and Iraqi National Guardsmen raided the hospital on
      April 28, terrifying patients. "They came after the curfew without
      prior notice. They started searching all the wards, for men and women.
      Lots of people were horrified. They didn't know what was happening,"
      he said.

      "They kicked in any of the doors in the staff accommodation that were
      locked. We asked what they were looking for and they finally answered,
      `Zarqawi'. " A US defence official in Washington said that the
      military had been alerted to possible terrorist activities related to
      al-Zarqawi in and around the hospital. No one was detained in the
      raid, he said.

      On February 20, US troops narrowly missed capturing al-Zarqawi during
      a car chase on a desert road near Ramadi.

      Al-Zarqawi apparently escaped on foot but the soldiers seized his
      laptop computer, his driver and one of his lieutenants. The laptop was
      said to contain information about his health as well as intelligence
      about his network.

      Since then US troops have mounted several raids on al-Zarqawi's
      suspected hideouts, including one in the village of Madain, south of
      Baghdad, in which three men allegedly linked to the murder of Margaret
      Hassan, the British aid worker, were detained.

      Iraqi officials said two days ago that another raid in the
      neighbouring town of Salman Pak — which had been under guerrilla
      control until last month — netted 20 terrorist suspects and vital

      After last week's raid on the Ramadi hospital The Washington Post
      reported that al-Zarqawi's network, the al-Qaeda Organisation in the
      Land Between the Two Rivers, had posted a statement at two local
      mosques saying that he had been at the hospital but escaped capture.

      Al-Zarqawi, who has a $25 million (£13 million) bounty on his head, is
      the Jordanian terrorist mastermind anointed by Osama bin Laden as his
      emir in Iraq.



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