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U.S. bombs suspected al-Zarqawi meeting place

IAEA: Nuclear materials, equipment missing from Iraq

Iraqi soldiers show off mortars after militia members handed over sacks of the rounds to security forces.
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Members of the Mehdi militia who turn in weapons this week as part of a five-day amnesty get a coupon in the following amounts that can later be exchanged for cash from the Iraqi government, according to a member of the country's national guard.

• BKC medium machine gun -- $1,000

• Sniper rifle -- $650

• 120 mm mortar -- $275

• 60 mm mortar -- $252

• Rocket-propelled grenade -- $175

• AK-47 rifle -- $150

• RPK rifle -- $160

• Hand grenade -- $5
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. airstrike early Tuesday destroyed a building in Falluja used as a meeting place by wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his followers, the U.S. military said.

The strike destroyed the Hajji Hussein Restaurant and a neighboring building in central Falluja, according to a CNN reporter in the city.

Firefighters and ambulances were on the scene, and rescue crews were digging through the rubble searching for possible survivors.

The owner of the restaurant said four employees were inside at the time of the strike and were believed to be under the rubble.

A U.S. military news release, which said the attack was a "successful precision strike" just after midnight, did not describe the target as a restaurant.

"Terrorists frequently planned operations from this location. Plans included targeting Iraqi governmental leadership, Iraqi security forces, coalition forces and innocent Iraqi citizens," the news release said.

"The location had been under the terrorist organization's control for more than a year, and innocent civilians knowingly stayed away."

U.S. warplanes have been making daily bombing runs in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Falluja in recent weeks, targeting suspected safe houses and other locations possibly linked to al-Zarqawi.

The Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi has been blamed for fomenting unrest in Iraq through the insurgency, and carrying out attacks against U.S. forces, Iraqi government officials and Iraqi civilians.

The Islamist militant group Unification and Jihad, which claims allegiance to al-Zarqawi, has been blamed for numerous beheadings of foreigners, including Americans Nicholas Berg, Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley, and Briton Kenneth Bigley.

U.N.: Nuke materials gone

Equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons have disappeared from Iraq, the chief of the U.N.'s atomic watchdog agency has warned.

Satellite imagery showed entire buildings that once housed high-precision equipment that could be used to make nuclear bombs have been dismantled, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a letter to the Security Council. (Full story)

A CIA report released last week by chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer concluded that dictator Saddam Hussein terminated his nuclear program in 1991 after the Persian Gulf War.

The U.S. government prevented U.N. weapons inspectors from returning to Iraq after the current war -- thereby blocking the IAEA from monitoring the high-tech equipment and materials.

Anti-proliferation agreements say that the United States and the Iraqi interim government must inform the IAEA of any import or export of such materials and equipment.

Other developments

  • Iraqis aligned with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi militia began trickling into police stations Monday in Baghdad to exchange their weapons for coupons they can later use to get cash from the Iraqi government. Rebels were expected to surrender thousands of medium and heavy weapons at various centers in the Sadr City area of the capital during a five-day amnesty announced Saturday, Iraqi officials said. (Full story)
  • Iraqi police and members of the U.S. 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit killed two insurgents and arrested 10 suspects in fighting Monday near Lutafiya in south-central Iraq, a U.S. military news release said. The incident came amid an operation in northern Babil province involving more than 2,000 U.S. and Iraqi forces, it said. More than 100 suspected insurgents have been captured and hundreds of weapons seized since the operation began last week, the release said.
  • The U.S. military launched an airstrike Monday afternoon against Sharqi Mosque in Hit, west of Baghdad, after about 100 insurgents attacked Marines and Iraqi national guard members with small arms, machine guns and mortars from inside the building, according to a news release from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. Hit is west of the insurgent strongholds of Falluja and Ramadi.
  • The Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera reported Monday that a group calling itself Jaish Ansar al-Sunnah had beheaded a Turkish contractor and his Iraqi translator. Al-Jazeera did not broadcast the portion a tape showing the beheading but did show video of both men and several ID cards and personal documents with pictures.
  • The Arabic-language television network Al-Arabiya broadcast video Monday of a Turkish man it said was being held hostage by Unification and Jihad, which the network said threatened to behead him if its unspecified demands were not met.
  • A suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. military convoy Monday morning in Mosul in northern Iraq, killing two civilians and wounding 37, many of them critically, U.S. military and hospital officials said. A U.S. military spokeswoman said there were military casualties but did not say how many.
  • Two U.S. soldiers were killed and five were wounded Monday morning in a rocket attack in southern Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
  • CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh, Mohammed Tawfeeq, Ayman Mohyeldin, Kianne Sadeq, Ingrid Formanek and Brent Sadler, Lauren Rivera and Abdul Rahman contributed to this report.

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