U.S. aircraft destroys restaurant said to be a meeting sight [sic] for terrorists
By Associated Press, 10/11/2004 18:20
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) A U.S. warplane early Tuesday destroyed a popular restaurant which the U.S. command said was a meeting place for members of Iraq's most feared terrorist organization.
The 12:01 a.m. blast demolished the Haj Hussein restaurant as well as nearby shops, residents said. There was no report of casualties and the restaurant was closed at the time, but two night guards were missing, residents said.
Ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the scene.
The U.S. military command in Baghdad made no mention of the restaurant but said the target was ''a center'' for the Tawhid and Jihad terror network, led by Jordanian-born extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
''Following the engagement, secondary explosions were reported, indicating the strong likelihood of weapons caches and explosive devices,'' the statement said. ''Terrorists frequently planned operations from this location. Plans included targeting Iraqi governmental leadership, Iraqi security forces, coalition forces and innocent Iraqi citizens.''
Al-Zarqawi's network has claimed responsibility for numerous car bombings, kidnappings and beheadings of foreign hostages, including American businessman Nicholas Berg, South Korean translator Kim Sung-il, British civil engineer Kenneth Bigley and U.S. engineers Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley.