U.S. source on Syria raid: We got our man

Good news but not great news. Clearly they were hoping to take him alive for his intel value or else they wouldn’t have put boots on the ground.

They did nab two people, both of whom were presumably smaller fish.

A U.S. strike on a network of foreign fighters in Syria killed its main target — an Al Qaeda coordinator who was wanted for sending foreign fighters, weapons and cash into Iraq, a U.S. official told FOX News.

Killed 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.

Roggio actually ID’d the target before Fox did. How big was this guy? Not a great white, perhaps, but easily a barracuda:

US special operations hunter-killer teams entered Syria in an attempt to capture Abu Ghadiya, a senior al Qaeda leader who has been in charge of the Syrian network since 2005. US intelligence analysts identified Ghadiya as the leader of the Syrian network, The Washington Post reported in July. Ghadiya was identified as a “major target” by the US military in February 2008…

Ghadiya, whose real name is Badran Turki Hishan al Mazidih, is an Iraqi from the northern city of Mosul. Ghadiya succeeded Suleiman Khalid Darwish, a Syrian national and lieutenant of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed by US forces in June 2006. US forces killed Darwish in a raid in Al Qaim in June 2005.

Several senior intel officials confirm that the raid took place. An interesting footnote: Maj. Gen. Kelly mentioned to U.S. News last week as an example of the cross-border threat from Syria a raid that had killed 11 Iraqi policemen. “We know the guy who did it, AQI guy,” he said, calling him, “Kind of a big dog who works with Syrian intelligence.” Today an Iraqi government spokesman claimed that the Syria raid was aimed at a group that had killed 13 Iraqi police recruits, and that they’d asked Assad at least once before to hand them over. Whether he and Kelly are talking about the same outfit — namely, Ghadiya’s — is hard to tell, but it’s a curious coincidence.

Needless to say, the fact that our intelligence and capabilities were good enough to pinpoint this guy in another country and take him out tells you a lot about the state of AQI right now. Exit question: Has any enterprising journalist thought to query McCain or Obama about this yet? The One is, at the moment, probably the most famous proponent of cross-border raids in America. Is his fondness for them limited to Pakistan or is Syria included too? Maybe we can get someone from the cast of “Saved by the Bell” to ask him.