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February 25, 2005
Another Zarqawi Aide Plucked

The Iraqi government announced today that it has captured another key figure in the Ansar al-Islam terror network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Abu Qutaybah had been considered one of the high-value targets in the network due to his extensive contacts throughout western Iraq, and sure enough, Iraqi forces arrested him within miles of the Syrian border:

Iraq's government said on Friday it had captured a key lieutenant of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who is al Qaeda's leader in Iraq and has been behind some of the country's worst attacks.

It said Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaymi, also known as Abu Qutaybah, was captured on Feb. 20 in Anah, a town northwest of Baghdad, about 35 miles from the Syrian border.

"Abu Qutaybah was responsible for determining who, when and how terrorist network leaders would meet with Zarqawi," the government said in a statement.

"Abu Qutaybah filled the role of key lieutenant for the Zarqawi network arranging safe houses and transportation as well as passing packages and funds to Zarqawi."

This will put a huge dent in cross-border operations for Zarqawi and the terrorist network. It may not mean too much in terms of further captures; the immediate announcement gives the impression that the Iraqis don't have much hope in getting information out of Qutaybah. The continuing damage to the network underscores the intelligence edge that the Iraqis have, however, and Qutaybah represents a major loss, both operationally and strategically as well as politically for Zarqawi. If the Iraqis see a continuous progression of captures like these, the recruitment of foot soldiers for their ranks will inevitably dry up.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 25, 2005 8:50 AM

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» Another Top Zarqawi Aide Captured from The Jawa Report
Mohamed Najam Ibrahim, a top leader in Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qada in Iraq network has been captured in the city of Baqouba. According to the AP, Ibrahim was personally involved, along with his unnamed brother, in beheadings. Iraqi officias... [Read More]

Tracked on February 25, 2005 11:35 AM

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