Wednesday, July 18, 2007

U.S. announces capture of top al-Qaeda in Iraq aide said to be intermediary to Bin Laden

Left: Egyptian militant Abu Ayub al-Masri is reputed to be head of al-Qaeda in Iraq. In May Iraqi authorities claimed he had been killed, but there has never been any confirmation.

The U.S. military today said its troops have detained a man believed to be the most senior Iraqi member of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Brigadier General Kevin Bergner said the man, Khalid al-Mashhadani, was captured in the northern town of Mosul on July 4.

Bergner said al-Mashhadani was a close associate of Abu Ayub al-Masri, the Egyptian-born head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and that he serves as an intermediary between al-Masri and the two top Al-Qaeda leaders, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq was created in 2004 by Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. air strike in Iraq's Diyala Governorate in 2006.

Bergner said al-Mashhadani had told his U.S. captors about the role of a separate militant organization, the Islamic State of Iraq. According to Bergner, al-Mashhadani said "the Islamic State of Iraq is a front organization that masks the foreign influence and leadership within Al-Qaeda in Iraq in an attempt to put an Iraqi face on the leadership of Al-Qaeda in Iraq."

From RFE

Related Link:
'Intelligence Sources': Bin Laden alive and well-protected in western Pakistan