Counter-terrorism officials score major al-Qaeda bust in Iraq
An Iraqi soldier loads the wreckage of a car bomb from the shrine city of Karbala, southwest Baghdad, on Thursday, the deadliest day for Iraq in more than two months. (AFP PHOTO)
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The head of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been arrested and a number of other operative names have been seized in a huge victory for Iraqi counter-terrorism, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday.
According to one counter-terrorism official, forces spent two months tracking down the al-Qaeda leader before arresting him. They are currently interrogating the man but have not yet released his name.
Iraqi media reported this week that the man in custody is in fact, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is known locally as the head of a collective of armed groups called the 'Islamic State of Iraq'. The organization has claimed responsibility in the past for a number of bombing attacks, including those in the capital in October 2009, which killed 155 people.
Abu Bakr was named head of the collective after former leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was killed in a US air strike in 2010.
Samir al-Shuili, spokesman for a counter-terrorism unit in Iraq confirmed that officials had infiltrated one part of the Islamic State of Iraq as part of a wider anti-terrorism initiative.