Military Denies Reports of Zarqawi Capture

Reuters — U.S. Military Checking Reports of Zarqawi Capture

The U.S. military said on Monday it was checking unconfirmed reports that al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been captured in Iraq. The Jordanian-born Zarqawi, who Washington says is its number one enemy in Iraq, is accused of masterminding a string of suicide bombings and of the execution of an American and a South Korean hostage. The reports suggested that Zarqawi had been captured near the town of Hilla, south of Baghdad and in the Polish military area of responsibility.

“We are working on that issue,” a U.S. military official said. A Polish spokesman added: “I cannot confirm that information… When the operation is ongoing at the moment I cannot make any comment.” Washington is offering $10 million for information leading to the death or capture of Zarqawi.

We can hope.

UPDATE: Reuters — Military Denies Reports of Zarqawi Capture

The U.S. military denied reports Monday that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who Washington says is allied to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, had been captured in Iraq. “It’s not true, the reports are not true,” Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the U.S. military in Iraq, told Reuters. “We’ve heard the reports about it, but they are not true.”

Earlier, reports on a U.S.-funded Iraqi radio station had suggested Zarqawi had been captured near the town of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, in an area controlled by Polish troops. Iraqi officials in Hilla said a man had been captured who resembled Zarqawi and spoke with a similar accent.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies 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.