The hostage-takers’ lair seems to have been found. From the New York Times:
FALLUJA, Iraq, Nov. 21 – In one house hung a black banner with the words “One God and Jihad” and a distinctive yellow sun, terrifyingly familiar as the backdrop to videotaped beheadings by the group of that name. In another house there was a wire cage large enough to hold a human and a wall marked with Arabic writing and what appears to be a fingerprint in dried blood.
Before the doors to these houses in Falluja were thrown open to two reporters on Sunday, soldiers and intelligence officers had carried away other items from them, handcuffs, shackles, militant propaganda, bayonets, and knives – crusted with what looked like blood and resembling the ones used in the beheadings. A detailed photograph-catalog of the items was shown to the reporters….
And there has been at least one discovery of a quite different kind. Near the house with the cage, soldiers searched a house that officials said contained a primitive chemical weapons lab. They said the lab had sodium cyanide, potassium cyanide, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and other chemicals, along with indications that insurgents were trying to use them to make bombs.
It is not clear how the officials identified the chemicals or what kind of weapons the insurgents had been hoping to make. There were no reports of chemical weapons used in the battle for Falluja.
The two houses that had been filled with the paraphernalia of torture, though, provided the most graphic glimpse yet of what seem to have been horrific prisons.
The black banner was found inside a house in southeast Falluja, site of the worst fighting last week. In full, the yellow lettering on the banner read “The organization of One God and Jihad,” the former name of the network run by Mr. Zarqawi.