Iraq seizes Zarqawi's 'most lethal bomb ally'

Posted in Iraq | 25-Jan-05 | Author: Patrick Cockburn| Source: The Independent

An Iraqi national guardsman handed out informational election fliers in Baghdad on Monday, a day that Iraq reported the seizure of two aides to the most-wanted insurgent, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The Iraqi interim government yesterday claimed to have captured "the most lethal ally" of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, making the announcement days before Iraqi voters are due to go the polls on Sunday.

But there was widespread scepticism in Baghdad at the government's sudden breakthrough in its pursuit of bombers just before the elections.

In what was touted as a significant victory against the insurgency, the government said Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf had been arrested on 15 January. He is suspected of making at least 32 car bombs, including the one used in an attack on UN buildings in Iraq in August 2003 which killed the UN envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

The government says he also planned an attack in Najaf the same month, killing 80.

The announcement of al-Jaaf's arrest came hours after a suicide car bomb struck in the city centre, injuring 10 people.