U.S. Says Zarqawi May Be Ill
Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, may be ill or wounded.
U.S. Says Zarqawi May Be Ill (WaPo, A21)
The U.S. military is examining reports that insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi was present last week at a hospital in Anbar province and the possibility that he may be ill or wounded, officials said Wednesday. U.S. officials gave no details as to why they believe Zarqawi may be sick or injured. But U.S. military authorities were quoted this month as saying that Zarqawi had left medical information about himself on a laptop computer that was seized Feb. 20 in his closest known call with American pursuers. When his car was pulled over at a checkpoint outside Ramadi, Zarqawi fled on foot, leaving behind the laptop, photos of himself and contacts, officials said.
It was not clear whether suspicions about his health were linked to the seizure of the computer or grew directly out of Zarqawi’s reported presence last week at a hospital in Ramadi, the capital of restive Anbar province. Zarqawi’s group asserted in a written statement posted at two mosques, one of them in Ramadi, that the Jordanian-born militant was at the hospital last Thursday during a raid by U.S. forces but that the Americans missed him.
A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, confirmed Wednesday that officials had “received a tip that there were terrorists in and around the hospital in Ramadi.”
May it be so.