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Al-Qaida operatives arrested in north Iraq: US

world Updated: Aug 04, 2009 19:17 IST
Al-Qaida operatives arrested in north Iraq: US

The deputy commander of a radical Islamic group linked to al-Qaida that authorities say was behind the 2004 Madrid terror bombing has been arrested in northern Iraq, the US military said on Tuesday.

The group, Ansar al-Islam, is believed to be behind attacks on US and Iraqi troops in Mosul, considered the last urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq, and elsewhere in the country.

Fakri Hadi Gari, also known as Abu Abbas and Mullah Halgurd, and nine other suspected members were arrested July 24 during a joint US-Iraqi operation, the US military said.

Described as a key operative, Gari is accused organizing attacks as well as recruiting and financing operations, the military said.

He also is accused of coordinating the movement of insurgents across the borders of Iraq.

Spanish authorities have said a terrorist cell connected to Ansar al-Islam, was behind the March 11, 2004, Madrid bombings that killed 191 people and wounded around 1,800.

Among those arrested in Mosul was a man described as a "financial emir" as well as driver for other key leaders of Ansar al-Islam, the statement said, which added that the arrests came following investigations by Iraqi army and police.

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