Iraqi secret police trained al-Qaeda operatives in poison gas use, according to an American magazine on newsstands Monday, adding that a radical Muslim group linked to the al-Qaeda network is operating in the northern part of Iraq.
Citing high-level administration officials, The New Yorker said that native-born Iraqi Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi was dispatched by Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to ask Baghdad for assistance in poison gas training.
"Al-Iraqi's mission was successful, and an unknown number of trainers from an Iraqi secret-police organization called Unit 999 were dispatched to camps in Afghanistan to instruct al-Qaeda terrorists," it reported.
In addition, the magazine said the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is taking seriously reports that another Iraqi, known as Abu Wa'el, "is the liaison of (Iraqi President) Saddam’s intelligence service to a radical Muslim group called Ansar al-Islam, which controls a small enclave in northern Iraq."
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's Prime Minister Barham Salih told the magazine that the area was to be used as an alternative to Afghanistan as a base of operations, "It was meant to be an alternative base of operations, since they were apparently anticipating that Afghanistan was going to become a denied area to them."
Citing US and Kurdish officials, the enclave was used by an al-Qaeda subgroup known as Jund al-Shams (Soldiers of the Levant), run by Mussa'ab al-Zarquawi, "believed by European intelligence agencies to be al-Qaeda's main specialist in chemical and biological terrorism". (Albawaba.com)
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