Iraq captures suspected senior leader of al-Qaida: spokesman

10:09, January 17, 2010      

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Iraqi security forces have captured one of the top leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq network, a military spokesman said on Saturday.

Major General Qassim Atta, spokesman of the Operations Command, told a televised press conference that the Iraqi security forces captured Ali Hussein al-Azzawi, a senior leader of al-Qaida groups across Iraq.

Azzawi, an ex-pilot of Iraqi Airways, was allegedly responsible for several high-profile attacks, including deadly suicide bombing against UN building in 2003.

Azzawi confessed that he was also responsible for supervising numerous high-profile attacks, including the attack on the UN mission in Baghdad in 2003 that killed UN special envoy Sergio de Mello.

De Mello and 21 others were killed in the suicide bombing that hit the UN headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003. Over 150 people were also injured in the attack.

"Most of the terrorist groups are working under the command of Azzawi, who also named Abu Imad, within the so-called Islamic State of Iraq," Atta said.

Azzawi is also responsible for communication between al-Qaida network in Iraq and al-Qaida groups in Europe, he said.

Atta introduced a footage for two men, said to be al-Qaida militants, telling information about Azzawi's role in commanding leaders of most of al-Qaida groups as well as his role in the deadly attacks across the country in the years after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Azzawi, 56, was a pilot working for the Iraqi Airways, Atta said, adding that the Iraqi security forces captured him at his home in al-Jadida neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, according to information received from residents.

Atta promised to give further details about Azzawi's activities after the Iraqi security forces finish the interrogations.

Source: Xinhua
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