Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Reportedly Arrested in Iraq

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reportedly arrested in Iraq (China Daily)

Photo: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi  was captured in Iraq, said Tuesday's Al Bayan, a daily newspaper of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).[file] Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared to be the “target number one” in Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources. Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa’al-Jihad, was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq. The newspaper’s correspondent in Baghdad points out that a report on the seizure of the terrorist, on whom the US put a bounty of US$10 million, was also reported by Iraqi Kurdistan radio, which at one time had been the first to announce the arrest of Saddam Hussein.

There have been no official reports about the arrest of the terrorist. Al-Zarqawi, 38, a Jordanian, whose real name is Ahmad al-Khalayleh, aims to turn Iraq into a “new Afghanistan”.

According to Arab press data, Al-Tawhid Wa’al-Jihad group has divided Iraq into several emirates. The group’s independent subdivisions at a strength of 50 to 500 militants operate in the cities of Al-Falluja, Al-Qaim, Diala, and Samarra. The personnel of the group is on the whole 1,500-strong and includes Iraqis and citizens of Arab and Islamic countries. There are demolition experts and missilemen among them. The group has depots of weapons and explosives in various parts of the country. It intends to frustrate the upcoming parliamentary elections that are scheduled for the end of this month. Al-Tawhid Wa’al-Jihad threatens to do away with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and members of the interim government.

(Hat tip: Laurence Simon)

Great news if true. Kevin Aylward is right, though: “The 48 hour rule should probably be observed as al-Zarqawi has been “captured” before in the press…”

Steven Taylor wishes to be colored skeptical as well. McQ is keeping his powder dry.

Update (1127): Matt Drudge says the Pentagon is calling the reports “dubious.”

U.S. military and intelligence sources are denying print and broadcast reports that terrorist Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi has been arrested in Iraq, MSNBC reported Tuesday. MSNBC said senior U.S. military and intelligence sources told it the reports are not true. A newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, al-Bayane, reported in its Tuesday edition that the Jordanian-born terrorist had been arrested in Baqouba, Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan radio also reported the arrest of al-Zarqawi.

The U.S. military in December said al-Zarqawi likely is in the Baghdad area.

Crud.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. McGehee says:

    I think it’s time for a “Ho-Hum, Another Report that Zarqawi’s Been Captured” meme.

  2. Bithead says:

    I usually try to consider what a motivation behind an action is. But I can’t figure this one to save me. What in the world motivates these announcements?