29 Al-Qaeda members held in Iraq

Published on Mar 06, 2007 11:49 AM IST
Security forces have captured members of Al-Qaeda in a series of operations across Iraq.
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PTI | By, Baghdad

Iraqi and US forces have captured 29 members of Al-Qaeda, including a death squad leader, in a series of operations across Iraq, an official has said.

Twenty-two Al-Qaeda members, including two brothers of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, were captured on Monday at Baiji, 220 kilometres north of Baghdad, said interior ministry operations director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf.

"The operation was carried out by police based on intelligence gathered by the ministry of the interior," Khalaf told the agency.

The Islamic State of Iraq is an alliance of Sunni groups under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which said it had kidnapped and executed 14 Iraqi policemen last Friday at Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, to avenge the alleged rape of a Sunni woman by Shiite police.

"We have also arrested the most dangerous man in northern Iraq, Fuad Ahmed al-Mufraji, who is responsible for a number of assassinations," said Khalaf, adding he was captured near Tikrit, 180 kilometres north of the capital, also on Monday.

Khalaf said earlier that Iraqi and US forces had captured a regional leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, along with five other Al-Qaeda members at Dhuluiyah, 70 kilometres north of Baghdad.

Muharib Abdullah and the other five militants were picked up in a raid on Sunday, he said.

The US military, meanwhile, said its troops had rescued two people kidnapped and tortured apparently by Al-Qaeda operatives in a town near Fallujah, 50 kilometres west of Baghdad.

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