Leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq arrested

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

An Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman said that the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was arrested Thursday. Al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, was reportedly arrested in the northern city of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.


U.S. State Department file photo of Al-Masri.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

There has been no official confirmation or comment from United States forces yet, but news of the arrest was reported on Iraq state television.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman, Mohammed al-Askari, told the Associated Press via telephone that, "The commander of Ninevah military operations informed me that Iraqi troops captured Abu Hamza al-Muhajir the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq."

Al-Masri, an Egyptian-born militant, took control of Al Qaeda operations in Iraq after former leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed on June 7, 2006 in an airstrike northeast of Baghdad.

Major Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said that police in Mosul "arrested one of al Qaeda's leaders at midnight and during the primary investigations he admitted that he is Abu Hamza Al-Muhajir. Now a broader investigation of him is being conducted."

This story has updates
See US denies arrest of al-Masri, al-Qaeda in Iraq leader

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