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Iraqi police arrest top Al-Qaeda man

State television also said officials are investigating whether Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had fled to neighbouring Iran.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 11:45 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Iraqi police have arrested the fourth-ranking figure in Al-Qaeda in Iraq, state television said while officials are investigating whether the group's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had fled to neighbouring Iran.

The brief report on Iraqiya television on Sunday identified the suspect as Mohammed Rabei, also known as Abu Dhar, and said he was No 4 in the Al-Qaeda. It gave no further details.

Meanwhile, a senior Iraqi security officer said the Iraqi government has been receiving information that al-Zarqawi may have moved to neighbouring Iran after hot pursuit by US and Iraqi forces in western Iraq.

The officer said Iraq's intelligence services have received information that the Jordanian-born terrorist was spotted a few weeks ago in areas close to the Himreen Mountains, 120 kilometres south of Kirkuk and near the border with Iran.

"We are dealing with this information carefully but intelligence services are working on the assumption that he has been planning to move to Iran after being besieged in the areas where he was operating inside Iraq," said the officer, who declined to be identified further because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 09:22 IST