Iraq: Zarqawi aide arrested as 19 die in attacks
The U.S. military on Thursday said Iraqi forces had captured the prime suspect in last year's kidnapping of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. Mohammed Hila Hammad Obeidi, also known as Abu Ayman, was arrested in southern Baghdad on March 7 but the announcement was delayed pending DNA tests to verify his identity, the U.S. command said in a statement, cited by the AP.
Abu Ayman is believed to have led the Secret Islamic Army in Babil province south of Baghdad and is said to have close ties to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
A car bomb exploded Thursday in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, killing at least 10 people. Some 30 people were wounded in the Najaf car bombing, which occurred about 300 yards from the Imam Ali shrine, police chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Miadal said.
Also Thursday, roadside bombings across Iraq killed two members of the Iraqi security forces and wounded at least 12, officials said.
One of the bombs went off near a police patrol in western Baghdad, killing a policeman and wounding five, officials said. A second bomb exploded when another group of police arrived at the scene, injuring two additional policemen.
North of Baghdad, an Iraqi army patrol was also hit by a roadside bomb, killing one officer and wounding five soldiers outside the city of Baqouba.
In Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, police discovered a headless body they believe belonged to a Kurdish man kidnapped the previous night. Four corpses of men in their 20s, handcuffed and blindfolded, were also found by police in Baghdad's southern Dora district.
Also in Kirkuk, assailants killed a policeman near his house late Wednesday, police said. A translator working with Polish military forces in southern Iraq was shot dead by gunmen Wednesday as he was on his way home from work in the city of Diwaniya.