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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Al-Qaeda 'coming to end in Iraq'
Iraq's national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie
Mr Rubaie showed documents he said were found in the Zarqawi raid
The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi marks the "beginning of the end" of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the country's national security adviser has said.

Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said documents seized after the raid that killed Zarqawi had yielded key information about the militant group.

"Now we have the upper hand," he told a news conference in Baghdad.

Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, was killed last week by a US air strike near Baquba, north of Baghdad.

Key records

Mr Rubaie said a pocket hard-drive, a laptop and documents were found in the debris after the strike.

The documents and records revealed the names and whereabouts of other al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders, he said, adding that more information has since been found in raids on other insurgent hideouts.

"We believe that this is the beginning of the end of al-Qaeda in Iraq," Mr Rubaie said.

"They did not anticipate how powerful the Iraqi security forces are and how the government is on the attack now."

One of the documents showed that Zarqawi was planning to widen the rift between the US and Iran by carrying out attacks on US interests falsely attributed to Iran, the prime minister's office said.

Hundreds of raids

According to a US military spokesman, US forces have carried out 452 raids since the killing of Zarqawi, leading to the death of 104 insurgents and the capture of 759 "anti-Iraqi elements".

Maj Gen William Caldwell said the raids had also yielded 28 significant arms hauls.

He said 143 of the raids had been carried out by Iraqi forces acting alone, while 255 raids had involved US forces working with Iraqi security.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed by a US air strike

The news comes on the second day of tough new security measures that have been put in place in Baghdad amid fears al-Qaeda in Iraq is preparing new attacks after Zarqawi's killing.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi and US security forces have been deployed across the capital. Citizens have been stopped and frisked at checkpoints as police enforce a ban on weapons, causing long delays on the roads.

There were noticeably fewer reports of violence in Baghdad than usual, although a chemicals worker was reported to have been shot dead in the west of the city.

In other developments:

  • The US death toll military death toll in Iraq reaches 2,500 with the death of a marine, the Pentagon says

  • Four worshippers are shot dead as gunmen storm a Sunni mosque in the city of Tikrit

  • Several hundred prisoners are released as part of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's national reconciliation plan, under which 2,500 will be freed in all

  • A senior official in the Iraqi province of Karbala is arrested in a joint US-Iraqi operation - local police allege links with "terrorism"

Mr Maliki has said he is ready to talk to insurgents as part of a national reconciliation initiative to try to engage the minority Sunni population in the country's political process. However, he has ruled out talking to "terrorist" groups.

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