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Iraq Announces Capture of Top-Tier al Qaeda Leader

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2006 – The capture of a top-tier terrorist has left al Qaeda in Iraq in a "serious leadership crisis," an Iraqi government official said here yesterday.

Iraqi forces, with coalition support, captured Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, who is thought to be responsible for the Feb. 22 bombing of a Samarra shrine sacred to Shiia Muslims, said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, national security adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in a nationally televised address.

The mosque bombing helped fan the flames of sectarian violence in Iraq. Saeedi – also known as Abu Humam and Abu Rana – was reportedly captured as he hid in a residential building southwest of Baquba.

"(Saeedi) is the direct supervisor of the criminal Haitham al-Badri, who planned and executed the bombing of the Askariya Shrine in Samarra," Rubaie said.

The Iraqi national security adviser said Saeedi carried out the policy of the al Qaeda in Iraq organization to ignite sectarian riots. According to Rubaie, Saeedi also is accused of supervising the creation of death squads and ordering assassinations, bombings, kidnappings and attacks on Iraqi police and army checkpoints.

(Adapted from an article posted on the Multinational Force Iraq Web site.)

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