March 9, 2007

Al-Baghdadi Captured

Iraq and the US scored a big victory today when it rolled up the leadership of an al-Qaeda affiliated group in Iraq. Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who has taunted Americans in press releases in the past, wound up in our custody after a series of raids:

The shadowy leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida-inspired group that challenged the authority of Iraq's government, was captured Friday in a raid on the western outskirts of Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman said.

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was arrested along with several other insurgents in a raid in the town of
Abu Ghraib, said Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman for the Baghdad security operation. U.S. officials had no confirmation of the capture and said they were looking into the report.

Al-Moussawi said al-Baghdadi admitted his identity, as did another "of the terrorists" who confirmed "that the one in our hands is al-Baghdadi."

Hot Air has much more on this story; I'm coming to it late after a very long day. Al-Baghdadi's real name is Khalid al-Mashhadani, which may sound familiar, as the Iraqi Speaker in its National Assembly and one of its Vice Presidents come from the Mahhadani tribe. That may or may not have a lot of significance; after all, Osama bin Laden's family has massive commercial interests in the West and have disowned their murderous scion.

The best aspect of this story so far is that one of Mashhadani's men ratted him out. He admitted his identity as the master terrorist, but apparently only after another detainee spilled the beans. Rumors have also begun to swirl that Mashhadani's brother got captured last week, which may mean his own brother ratted him out as well. It seems that either Mashhadani and his minions ache for publicity, or are too demoralized by their capture to care.

Now that they have been identified as the leadership of the ISI, they will face a grim future. Just a week ago, the ISI posted videos of the executions of 18 Iraqi security troops. They kidnapped the troops as revenge for the alleged rape of a Sunni woman by an Iraqi policeman, and the videotaped executions raised the bar even further for Islamist depravity. The Iraqi government may keep the Saddam gallows in good working order in anticipation of stretching Mashhadani's neck, after the US is finished interrogating him.


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Iraqi Spokesman Says Leader of Major Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Captured Near Baghdad BAGHDAD — The leader of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, has been captured in a raid west of Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman said [Read More]