Three Zarqawi Associates Arrested

Three suspected al-Zarqawi associates arrested (CNN)

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.

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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.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Terrorism
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.

Comments

  1. I concur with your assessment that the “three” are one new one plus the other two which were already reported. Still, it looks like the military/Iraqi security forces are starting to roll up that organization.

    This article indicates that they believe they are close to nabbing Zarqawi himself, although what else can they say when asked that question.

  2. BigFire says:

    These guys are captured 10 days ago. Chances are, based on the interview IP is currently conducting, we’re rolling up more guys even as we speak.