Three Zarqawi Associates Arrested
Iraqi officials on Friday announced the capture of three leading members of the insurgent group headed by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said that a “high-level Zarqawi lieutenant” identified as Anat Mohammed Hamat al-Kays was arrested on Friday. Al-Kays, who is also known as Abu Alid, is a 31-year-old Iraqi who served as a military adviser and assisted in financing terrorist operations in Baghdad, Saleh said.
Earlier, Iraq’s minister of state for national security announced that two leading members of al-Zarqawi’s group previously had been arrested. “The Iraqi security and intelligence services have reached a level where we are now able to capture the heads of the terrorist groups,” said Qassim Dawood. Dawood said one of the men was the head of the group’s Baghdad operations, having allegedly met with al-Zarqawi more than 40 times in three months. “He was also involved in financial support and other logistic operations,” Dawood said. The other man was also among al-Zarqawi’s close contacts, the official said. The two were held in Baghdad, but no further information was released.
The associates’ arrests came on January 17 and Thursday, Dawood said, adding that he didn’t want to announce them until campaigning for Sunday’s elections had ended to avoid “misleading conclusions.”
Since the names of the others aren’t listed, I presume that the “three” in the headline are simply al-Kays/Alid and the two reported earlier this morning. Still, the arrests of men purported to be senior al Qaeda leaders seems to be on a serious upsurge of late.