'$100 million Qaeda financier' netted in Iraq
Iraqi and US forces have detained a man they believe received $100 million this summer from Al-Qaeda sympathisers to hand out for "terrorist" operations in Iraq, the US military said on Thursday.
"The 100 million was what our intelligence reports indicate he has received spanning several months this year," US military spokesman Sam Hymas told AFP. "That is all the unclassified information I can give you."
He was also linked to purchasing explosives and weapons for the February 2006 attack on the Al-Askari mosque in Samarra, widely seen as the trigger of Iraq's sectarian strife, and a second attack on June 13 this year that destroyed the shrine's two minarets.
A statement from the military said the man, who was detained Tuesday in the central Baghdad neighbourhood of Al-Kindi, was suspected of handing over $50,000 a month to Al-Qaeda using his leather merchant business as a front.
"He is believed to have received one hundred million dollars this summer from terrorist supporters who cross the border illegally or fly into Iraq from Italy, Syria and Egypt," the military said.
He is also suspected of travelling abroad himself to seek money for Al-Qaeda and of employing up to 50 extremists to help deliver bomb-making materials to insurgents attacking the US-led coalition.
The suspect, who according to US military intelligence has stores in Jordan, Syria and the Iraqi city of Fallujah, was also wanted for allegedly shooting dead three US soldiers and wounding another in April this year, the military said.