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Iraqi Premier Demands Handover Of Al-Zarqawi

13 October 2004 -- Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is threatening military action against the main insurgent stronghold of Al-Fallujah if residents don't hand over Jordanian-born militant Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and his comrades.

"If al-Zarqawi and his group are not handed over to us, we are ready for major operations in Fallujah," Allawi said. "We are determined to safeguard the Iraqi people, because there are forces that want to inflict harm on the Iraqi people. I hope they [people in Al-Fallujah] will respond. If they don't, we will have to use force."

Allawi's warning today came as Iraqi government negotiators and Al-Fallujah representatives were trying to work out a deal to restore control over the city.

Meanwhile, a group led by al-Zarqawi posted a video on the Internet that showed two Iraqi intelligence officers beheaded.

As violence in Iraq continued today, the U.S. military said at least five U.S. soldiers were killed in hostile action during the past 24 hours.

At an international conference in Tokyo, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told donor nations that his country urgently needs more help from the world community.

In another development, the International Atomic Energy Agency says it is ready to send inspectors back to Iraq if it is asked to do so by the United Nations Security Council. The offer comes after reports of the disappearance in Iraq of equipment that experts say could be used to make nuclear materials.