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Troops arrest dozens after al-Zarqawi taken out

U.S. forces carried out 39 raids overnight in Iraq, arresting more than two dozen individuals and killing at least one. Some of the intelligence for the missions came from information gathered at the site of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Image: Confiscated weapons
U.S. troops retrieved these weapons during raids in Iraq Thursday night and Friday morning. Department of Defense
/ Source: The Associated Press

U.S. forces have arrested more than two dozen individuals over the past two days based on intelligence gathered from the scene of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s killing, a top U.S. general said Friday.

Meanwhile, the military said Friday a mortally wounded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was still alive and mumbling after American airstrikes on his hideout.

Also, fearing that insurgents will seek revenge, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki imposed driving bans in Baghdad and the restive Diyala province, where the terrorist was killed.

Maj. Gen. Bill Caldwell said U.S. troops conducted 39 raids late Thursday and early Friday, some based on information gleaned from searches in the hours after the al-Qaida leader’s death.

Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corp., Caldwell said troops carried out the raids in which troops “picked up things like memory sticks, some hard drives” that would allow American forces to begin dismantling al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaida in Iraq organization.

A targeted individual was killed and at least 25 people were captured, he said. One raid discovered small arms, ammunition and other items hidden beneath the floor of a building in the Baghdad area.

He said the latest information was helping U.S. forces unravel the source of al-Qaida’s weapons and financing.

The U.S. military’s search of al-Zarqawi’s bombed safe house yielded documents and information storage devices that are being assessed for potential use against his terror network, a military officer said.

An M-16 rifle fitted with special optics and an unspecified number of grenades and AK-47 rifles also were found, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The 39 raids were also based on intelligence gathered in 17 simultaneous raids U.S. troops staged Wednesday near Baqouba, the capital of Diyala province.

The region is in the heartland of the Sunni Arab-led insurgency and has seen a recent rise in sectarian violence. Baqouba is 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.