It was unclear whether Abu Ghadiya died near his tent on the battlefield or after he was taken into American custody, or if he really is dead (I have seen this before when a supposed KIA shows up in a foreign prison later), one senior American official said ? Captured 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.
A Sukkariyeh resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life, said he saw at least two men taken into custody by American forces and whisked away by helicopter. Another villager 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 saw the grainy video Monday.
At the targeted building, about a five-minute drive off the main road, the floor was bloodstained and white tennis shoes were surrounded by blood and pieces of human flesh. A tent pitched near the site had bags of bread, pots and pans and wool blankets. In Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino refused to confirm, or even discuss, Sunday's attack.
The mission had been mounted rapidly over the weekend on orders from the Central Intelligence Agency when the location of the suspected leader of the insurgent group, an Iraqi known as Abu Ghadiya, was confirmed. About two dozen American commandos in specially equipped Black Hawk helicopters swooped into the village of Sukkariyeh near the Iraqi border just before 5 p.m., and fought a brief gun battle with several militants, including Mr. Ghadiya, the officials said. Mr. Ghadiya was taken into American custody, one senior American official said.
One United States official described Mr. Ghadiya as Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s “most prominent” smuggler of foreign operatives crossing the Syrian border into 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.
Abu Ghadiya, the nom de guerre of a Mosul native whose real name is said to be Badran Turki Hishan al-Mazidih; Treasury Designates Members of Abu Ghadiyah's Network Facilitates flow of terrorists, weapons, and money from Syria to al Qaida in Iraq.
In a sign of what U.S. officials describe as their success in eliminating Sunni insurgents inside Iraq, the American military has recently identified an al-Qaeda in Iraq leader outside the country as a major target, according to the senior U.S. intelligence analyst.
The leader, Abu Ghadiya, the nom de guerre of a Mosul native whose real name is said to be Badran Turki Hishan al-Mazidih, was identified in February as a senior al-Qaeda in Iraq leader based in Syria who controls the flow of foreign fighters, cash and weapons into Iraq, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
"Since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, Syria has become a transit station for al Qaida foreign terrorists on their way to Iraq," said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. "Abu Ghadiyah and his network go to great lengths to facilitate the flow through Syria of money, weapons, and terrorists intent on killing U.S. and Coalition forces and innocent Iraqis."
BADRAN TURKI HISHAN AL MAZIDIH
AKAs: Al-Mazidih, Badran Turki al-Hishan "Abu Ghadiyah" Al Mezidi, Badran Turki Hishan Hishan, Badran Turki Hisham, Badran al-Turki Al-Turki, BadranAl-Sha'bani, Badran Turki Hisham al-Mazidih Abu 'Abdallah Abu Abdullah Shalash, Badran Turki Hayshan Abu 'Azzam.
DOB: 1978 or 1979
POB: Mosul, Iraq
Residence: Zabadani, Syria
Syria-based Badran Turki Hishan Al Mazidih, also known as Abu Ghadiyah, runs the AQI facilitation network, which controls the flow of money, weapons, terrorists, and other resources through Syria into Iraq. Former AQI leader Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi appointed Badran as AQI's Syrian commander for logistics in 2004. After Zarqawi's death, Badran began working for the new AQI leader, Abu Ayyub Al-Masri. As of late-September 2006, Badran took orders directly from Masri, or through a deputy.
Badran obtained false passports for foreign terrorists, provided passports, weapons, guides, safe houses, and allowances to foreign terrorists in Syria and those preparing to cross the border into Iraq. Badran received several hundred thousand dollars from his cousin Saddah -- also designated today -- and used these funds to support anti-U.S. military elements and the travel of AQI foreign fighters. Badran has also been using AQI funds for his personal use.
As of the spring of 2007, Badran facilitated the movement of AQI operatives into Iraq via the Syrian border. Badran also directed another Syria-based AQI facilitator to provide safe haven and supplies to foreign fighters. This AQI facilitator, working directly for Badran, facilitated the movement of foreign fighters primarily from Gulf countries, through Syria into Iraq.
Bill Warner...Private Investigator