Update: Not Baghdadi but another Big Al-Qaeda Fish.
Iraqi officials said Saturday they had arrested a top al-Qaida official, but that he was not the terror mastermind Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, as they had identified him a day earlier.
“After preliminary investigations, it was proven that the arrested al-Qaida person is not Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, but, in fact, another important al-Qaida official,” said Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Mousawi, an Iraqi military spokesman. “Interrogations and investigations are still under way to get more information.”
Al-Mousawi declined to give the suspect’s name on Saturday.
I’ve updated the red letters…
** THEY BAGGED A BIG ONE!! **
The US has captured Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq!
An Iraqi woman kisses the head of Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (front L) at a checkpoint in Baghdad March 9, 2007. (REUTERS/Wathiq Khuzaie)
The AP reports:
The leader of the al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq was captured Friday in a raid west of Baghdad — his identity revealed by a fellow insurgent detained with him, an Iraqi military spokesman said.
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was captured in a raid in Abu Ghraib on the western outskirts of Baghdad, said Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman of the Baghdad security operation. U.S. officials had no confirmation of the capture.
“One of the terrorists who was arrested with him confessed that the one in our hands is al-Baghdadi,” al-Moussawi said.
Al-Baghdadi has been identified in statements posted on Islamic extremist Web sites as the head of the Islamic State, which was proclaimed last year after the death of the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
In a tape released last November, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq called on Sunni Muslims to pledge their allegiance to a new state that militants have said they created in Iraq, and said al-Baghdadi was “the ruler of believers” with al-Qaida in Iraq fighters under his command.
Iraq Slogger may have more on his connection to a prominent Iraqi family.
Egyptian-born Abu Ayyub Al-Masri pledged support to Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, and put his 12,000 men at his disposal.
Abu Ayyub al-Masri, is reported to have run terrorist training camps in southern Iraq when he took refuge there in 2001.
FOX News has these fast facts on Abu Omar al-Baghdadi:
-Self proclaimed Amir of the Islamic State of Iraq
-Has taken credit for many of the major outbreaks of violence in Iraq of late.
-Considered Al Qaeda’s top man in Iraq. With the Sunni insurgency being whittled down to Al Qaeda’s activity in Iraq recently, he has become an even more significant player.
-Said to have headed the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an alliance of Al Qaeda and other jihadist organizations which was set up last year to downplay the role of foreigners in the Iraqi insurgency.
-The name first surfaced after Al-Zarqawi’s death, when the Mujahedeen Shura Council posted a condolence message on a militant Web site.
HotAir has been following the developments.
CNN has a strange story…
From CNN’s lead story you have no idea that this was the al-Qaeda leader in Iraq that was just captured!