AL-QAEDA IN IRAQ LEADER ARRESTED …Update: Maybe Not

He’s been in Iraq since the fall of the Taliban but this week he was finally nabbed.
** Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri is captured!

CNN has video of this news and previous footage of Al-Masri:

There are reports that al-Masri set up terrorist training camps in Iraq after he fled Afghanistan when the Taliban fell back in 2001. Later he helped establish the Baghdad cell of Al Qaeda in early 2003 with al-Zarqawi.

Global Terrorism Analysis has more on Al-Masri in Iraq back in 2001:

Al-Masri, an Egyptian in his 40s, has been one of al-Zawahiri’s disciples since 1982 and lived in Sudan until 1995. From there, he moved to Pakistan and stayed with the Osama bin Zaid Mosque group in Peshawar; the mosque, apparently, is frequented by extremists. In 1999, al-Masri went to Afghanistan and trained at the al-Farouq camp where he met al-Zarqawi. Al-Masri became an expert in making roadside bombs and explosives. In 2001, al-Masri traveled to Iraq and worked with Ansar al-Islam in the north. Later, he joined al-Qaeda and became very close to al-Zarqawi, directing suicide bombers from Fallujah (al-Arabiya, June 12).

Global Security Organization says it is likely that Abu Ayyub al-Masri has been in Iraq since 2002.

Don’t expect to see that in any of the media reports.
…Because, of course, everyone knows that Al-Qaeda was not in Iraq before March 2003.

This was posted last year on Al-Masri by MNF-Iraq:

Click to Enlarge
The majority of foreign terrorists enter Iraq to carry out suicide attacks, signing a pledge that formally commits them to that duty. Over 90% of suicide bombers are foreign terrorists. (MNF-Iraq) Al-Qaeda in Iraq has committed over 6,000 suicide bombings sinc the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

Yesterday, Iraqi Al-Arabiya television said that Iraqi police had identified the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, as Hamid Dawoud al-Zawi, and aired his photo on television.

Today, there are reports that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi has been captured:

The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was arrested in the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday. Mohammed al-Askari said the arrest of al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, was confirmed to him by the Iraqi commander of the province. There was no immediate confirmation or comment from U.S. forces.

News of the arrest was also reported by Iraqi state television.

“The commander of Ninevah military operations informed me that Iraqi troops captured Abu Hamza al-Muhajir the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq,” al-Askari told The Associated Press by telephone.

He did not have any further details nor did he say when the al-Qaida leader was arrested. According to unconfirmed reports, however, he was caught Thursday evening in the Tayran area in central Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad. Mosul is currently a major battleground for U.S. forces and al-Qaida.

Al-Masri took over al-Qaida in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed June 7, 2006 in a U.S. airstrike northeast of Baghdad.

U.S. officials said al-Masri joined an extremist group led by al-Qaida’s No.2 official. He later joined al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan in 1999 and trained as a car bombing expert before traveling to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

HotAir is following the news.

In April al-Masri vowed that Al-Qaeda would win in Iraq.
If Al-Qaeda does win, it won’t be with him.

Bill Roggio has background on al-Masri at the Long War Journal.

Mudville Gazette notes that this is almost the one year anniversary of his death.

UPDATE: U.S. military spokeswoman Maj. Peggy Kageleiry says “neither coalition forces nor Iraqi security forces detained or killed Abu Ayyub al-Masri- AP.

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