U.S. attack surprised terrorist |

U.S. attack surprised terrorist

The Associated Press

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Iraq’s most wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was injured and almost captured during a recent U.S. offensive near the Iraqi-Syrian border, according to Iraqi security officials.

Al-Zarqawi was not badly wounded, and he managed to escape during the weeklong U.S. siege of the town of Qaim, said two senior security officials who spoke by phone from Iraq and asked not to be named. The officials said their information is based on interrogations of insurgents captured in the area.

“He was hiding out in Qaim or in the surrounding regions,” one official said. “He was apparently surprised by the American operation.”

The official said Al-Zarqawi was likely a main target of the U.S. offensive, dubbed Operation Matador, which involved a Marine task force in the largest combat mission in Iraq since the invasion of Fallujah six months ago. The offensive lasted from May 8 to 15 and focused on a mainly Sunni Muslim region around Qaim, in a desert area where the Euphrates River crosses from Syria to Iraq. The U.S. military said several hundred insurgents were killed, but Iraqi officials have given estimates as low as several dozen.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.