May 29, 2006

Iraqi army says captures Zarqawi aide in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi security forces have captured a
senior aide of al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in
Baghdad, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Defense Ministry spokesman Kassim al-Mosawi said that
Kassim al-Ani, one of the most wanted people in Iraq, was
arrested on Sunday evening.

"The Iraqi army forces arrested three terrorists who belong
to al Qaeda, one of them is a senior aide of Zarqawi in
Baghdad," Mosawi said.

"He was one of the most wanted ones," he told Reuters,
adding that Ani was suspected of being behind many attacks in
the Iraqi capital.

Zarqawi and al Qaeda have been blamed for some of the
deadliest attacks in Iraq since 2003, often going after Shi'ite
Muslim targets in what U.S. officials say is an attempt to
provoke civil war with Iraq's once-dominant Sunni Arab

Iraqi security forces and the U.S. military often say they
have detained or killed key al Qaeda militants.

But Zarqawi himself remains at large, despite a $25 million
bounty on his head.

Mosawi said the army had received intelligence information
that Ani and the two other suspects were in a house in
Baghdad's northern Adhamiya district, a predominantly Sunni

"We prepared a plan and raided the house and arrested them
without resistance," he said.

The U.S. military was not immediately available for comment
on the arrests.