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January 23, 2004
US Captures Key Al-Qaeda Figure

US forces in Iraq captured a key al-Qaeda associate and a leader in Ansaar al-Islam and the Iraqi insurgency:

U.S. forces in Iraq captured a leader of the insurgency who is believed to be a close associate of Abu Musab Zarqawi, described by some as a key link between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein, a senior American official said in Washington on Friday. U.S. troops captured Husam al-Yemeni Thursday, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He is described by U.S. officials as a top member of the al-Qaida linked Ansar al-Islam group and the leader of an insurgency cell in Fallujah, west of Baghdad.

As in earlier events, US forces gave no details of the capture, nor have they made an official statement, but this looks like a fairly significant win for the Coalition. They've been battling an insurgency cell for a while in Fallujah, and capturing its leader, or one of them, will have a sobering effect on the rest -- especially if the Americans start getting good intelligence from him.

UPDATE: CNN reports that Americans have another senior al-Qaeda leader in custody, given to them by "friendly foreign forces":

A senior al Qaeda operative was captured Thursday in Iraq by friendly foreign forces and turned over to U.S. intelligence personnel, senior U.S. officials said. A U.S. official told CNN that Ghul is a "longtime facilitator, operator" within al Qaeda, and a "significant player." It is believed that Ghul was captured soon after his arrival in Iraq, the official said.
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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 23, 2004 6:28 PM

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