Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday , October 27, 2008 A U.S. strike on a network of foreign fighters in Syria killed its main target — an Al Qaeda coordinator who was wanted for sending foreign fighters, weapons and cash into Iraq, a U.S. official told FOX News. Killed in Sunday's attack by Special Operations Forces was Abu Ghadiyain, Al Qaeda's senior coordinator operating in Syria who was closely associated with the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The assault, which took place about 4-5 miles inside Syria, came just days after the commander of U.S. forces in western Iraq said American troops were redoubling efforts to secure the border, which he called an "uncontrolled" gateway for fighters entering Iraq. Ninety percent of foreign fighters enter Iraq through Syria, according to U.S. intelligence estimates, bringing cash to Al Qaeda in Iraq's chief. They also are deadly — trained in bomb-making and willing to sacrifice themselves in suicide attacks. A senior U.S. military intelligence official said that in July only about 20 foreign fighters were entering the country each month, down 50 percent from six months earlier, and just a fifth of the estimated 100 foreign fighters who were infiltrating Iraq a year ago. A resident of the village where the raid took place said he saw at least two men taken into custody by American forces and whisked away in a helicopter. The villager spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. Another villager at the site displayed amateur video footage he took with his mobile phone that shows four helicopters flying toward them as villagers point to the skies in alarm. An Associated Press journalist at the attack site in far eastern Syria saw the grainy video. Eight people in total were killed in the raid, which Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem called an act of "criminal and terrorist aggression." During their funerals, angry residents shouted anti-American slogans and carried banners reading: "Down with Bush and the American enemy." Russia's Foreign Ministry also criticized the attack, warning that it will escalate tensions in the region.