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ABC news - Iraq insurgency figters in Jordanian prison

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Rare Look Inside Insurgent Prison ABC News Visits Jordanian Jail, Prisoner Says 'Iraq Was a Magnet for Us' By JIM SCIUTTO SWAAKA, Jordan, Dec. 13, 2006 — - The presence of U.S. troops in Iraq has raised fears among Muslims worldwide that their countries could be next for an invasion, which has made it easy for the insurgents and al Qaeda in Iraq to recruit foreign fighters, men jailed in Jordan for joining the insurgency told ABC News. ABC News was the first news outlet allowed inside Jordan's maximum security Swaaka prison where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the notorious leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was once a prisoner and where now dozens of men are jailed for fighting in Iraq. At this jail there is a prison within the prison, with a high security section separated behind high walls and barbed wire reserved specifically for prisoners charged with terrorism. We spoke with several prisoners including Yildar, a 26-year-old marketing student from Jordan, who told ABC News that before he was arrested he simply took a bus to Baghdad to join the insurgency and try to drive U.S. forces from the country. "Iraq was a magnet for us," he said. "We felt like our own home had been invaded." While fighting in Fallujah, his unit was commanded by an Iraqi army officer who was dismissed by the Americans. They received generous support from Iraqi civilians -- including food, money and housing. Yildar said he joined insurgents from all over the world, including France, Britain and two American Muslims. "One of the American insurgents told me he had a brother in the U.S. Army," he said. During his time in the insurgency, Yildar admitted he was often scared as he was fighting U.S. tanks and helicopters with just machine guns. Another prisoner, Mustafa, a 31-year-old computer engineer from Jordan, was convicted of recruiting and training fighters for al Qaeda in Iraq. He said the U.S. occupation was an extremely powerful recruiting tool for foreign fighters. "They believed that if we didn't stop America in Iraq, the U.S. would come to their own countries next," he said. But even more motivating were stories of American atrocities, such as the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison. Mustafa was a prisoner at Abu Ghraib in 2003 and 2004 and has scars from the torture he said he endured. The Pentagon confirmed that he was stripped and beaten the very same day one of the infamous prisoner photos was taken. "The Americans' behavior is so ugly we all feel we have a duty to fight," he said. He vows to keep fighting until America leaves Iraq, but will not be released for 18 years. Yildar also vows to stay with the insurgency and will be released in just six months.


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