Two Arab al-Qaeda leaders arrested in Iraq

 [Ali al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images] Gen. Qassim Atta showed pictures of the arrested suspects at a news conference on Monday

[Ali al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images] Gen. Qassim Atta showed pictures of the arrested suspects at a news conference on Monday

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The Iraqi government announced Monday (May 17th) the arrest of two Arab nationals described as two of the most dangerous leaders of the al-Qaeda organization in Iraq.

Baghdad Operations Command spokesperson Gen. Qassim Atta said that the two suspects, a Saudi and an Algerian, were arrested based on Iraqi intelligence information in two separate operations in Baghdad.

"A force of the Iraqi Army's 6th Division, 54th Brigade, managed to arrest the security official of al-Qaeda in Baghdad, alias Sinan al-Saudi," Atta said at a news conference held in the capital. "He is a Saudi national born in 1979 and he graduated from al-Fahd Security College in 2004. He is an officer, a lieutenant, in the Saudi Army."

Atta said that al-Saudi entered Iraq in 2004 through the al-Qaim area and Husaybah in Anbar province, after which he became the security official of al-Qaeda in Anbar and Salahaddin provinces. Al-Saudi also used the alias Mohammed Hamdan Fazie al-Shemmari.

Media reports identified al-Saudi as Abdullah Azam Saleh al-Qahtani.

Atta accused the Saudi detainee of taking part in criminal operations, including robbing jewelry stores in Baghdad and killing the shop owners, participating in bombings that targeted a number of hotels, and bombing the forensic evidence building in Baghdad. In addition, al-Saudi is suspected of planning to target religious shrines in Najaf and Karbala.

"Al-Saudi was also planning in coordination with "Wali of Baghdad" Manaf al-Rawi, who is currently being detained, to carry out a number of operations," Atta added. "These operations include robbing the Islamic Economic Bank in Baghdad and planning the bombing of a number of Baghdad areas with the aim of inciting sectarian strife."

Atta also accused the Saudi detainee of plotting with al-Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to "carry out a number of attacks during the World Cup in South Africa".

In an interview with AP on Tuesday, al-Qahtani said he was working on a proposal to Zawahiri to attack Danish and Dutch teams or their fans in South Africa with car bombs. It is not clear whether al-Qahtani had the capability to carry out such attacks.

Iraqi security officials said the second suspect, Algerian Tarek Hassan Abdul Kadir, alias Abu Yasin al-Jazaeri, was the military leader of al-Karkh in Baghdad. He is an Algerian national born in 1976 and was a resident of Algiers.

Atta said Iraqi forces withheld the announcement of al-Jazaeri's arrest until Monday to ensure that investigations with him were conducted in secrecy.

According to Atta, al-Jazaeri entered Iraq through Syria in 2005 and joined a training camp of the so-called Arab fighters in al-Karabilah area in Anbar province.

"Al-Jazaeri was tasked with a reconnaissance mission before the execution of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attacks on Blood Wednesday several months ago," Atta said. "He also took part in robbing al-Nebal Money Exchange Company in Baghdad last year, where he killed a number of employees and stole large amounts of money. This is in addition to his participation in robbing a jewelry store on Palestine Street and killing the owner."

"Al-Qaeda is now suffering a major financial crisis after losing many of their financing sources," Atta said. "They are currently dependent upon stealing and armed robbery against banks to finance their operations."

Atta added that security forces obtained important information on al-Qaeda through investigations with the two detainees.

"The arrest of the two leaders sent a clear signal to all Arab fighters in Iraq that their life in Iraq has become very short," said Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. "It also gave a signal to those who desire to enter the country that they will be going to prison and not into the fields of destruction that they want to cause in our beloved country."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    سرذار

    2014-6-30

    They should have their moustaches shaved, their clothes removed and get tied at a public area so that free Iraqi women may spit on them and hit their faces with shoes so that they may be seen as disgraceful in the eyes of their wives and children. They should be kept like that until they are dragged to their ill fate instead of imprisoning them and fattening them with Iraq’s nice food which they should not have. If you have respect for Ramadi Sheikh, treat them the way I said respectable Arabs.

  • نشأت صبحى يوسف

    2011-1-14

    We must take revenge on those serial-killers, to set an example of them to the others. They must realize that the Iraqi forces will track down such criminals. Accept greetings and appreciation from an Egyptian citizen to Sayyid Qasim and his honorable colleagues.

  • عبد الله

    2010-7-3

    The recent arrests of many of Al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq says that the Iraqi police forces have succeeded in infiltrating this despicable organization, thanks to the efforts of the forces in the area of intelligence. This led to identifying those decayed heads among the Al-Qaeda leaders and their arrest, which in return destabilized Al-Qaeda and dismantled its components, and put it on the verge of collapse for certain. Those terrorists are no longer spared from justice, whatever their rank might be, whether Emirs or Ministers in the so-called Islamic State which they claimed to establish in Iraq. As for the remaining members, a lot of them will give up this organization and opt either to leave Iraq and go back to their caves, or surrender to the Iraqi authorities as they are tracked down and suffer from great pressure. Certainly, those frequent strikes by the Iraqi forces against Al-Qaeda will be the beginning of the end for this organization in Iraq. Iraq will be pioneering in anti-terrorism among the other countries, although it was subject to fierce terrorist attacks which aimed to destroy the Iraqi people, Iraq, divide it into small countries and sow civil war among its people. The remaining countries will take a lesson from the patience and the endurance of the Iraqis. In fact, Iraqis have stood against terrorism, fought it and eradicated it. Other countries will follow the example of Iraq and the Iraqis to eradicate terrorism in their countries.

  • الاسمر

    2010-6-21

    Terrorists have carried out their terrorist activities with all their efforts. Terrorism has started developing its methods, especially after traditional tactics had failed and become known to security authorities. Also, Iraqis are more careful now of the danger of terrorism, and they have subsequently fought against it by all means and succeeded in reducing its threat in the country, to the extent that the number of those who fall victims of terrorist networks is being reduced enough to not go in the favor of terrorists.

  • مالك

    2010-6-11

    They don’t deserve life; they deserve rather to have their heads cut off, to set an example to others. Treating them with such tolerance makes them continue their crimes. The extremist ideology is the ideology of explosions. The “Takfiri” ideology is based upon ignorance and lack of education. No wonder that some forbidden acts may be legitimized …As the basis is weak: like the extremist decayed ideology which stands against the conservative orientations aiming to preserve religious customs. This decayed ideology is similar to the rigid ideology, given that neither of them has anything to do with religion. If those “sheikhs” turned to the media to reveal the truth of the criminality of Al-Qaeda, no one would support them financially; and thus, God willing; they would be eradicated once for all.

  • ياسمين محمد

    2010-6-7

    The terrorists have tried to play the card of sectarian violence more than once, and they were the cause behind the current tension in Iraq, because they carried out many activities with the objective of creating sectarian strife and igniting a civil war among the sects in Iraq. However, this has not happened, because of the enlightened minds that were present. But this has had a huge psychological impact on everybody, because of the damages inflicted on them for no reason. This is where the government’s role comes in, in terms of reducing the tension and the sectarian strife, and not aggravating it. The government should prove to Iraq that it is the people’s government, and that it is a government consisting of all the factions of the Iraqi people, and that it does not practice ethnic or sectarian discrimination. This is what the government should do. It should also try to eliminate any sign of party politics or sectarianism, by providing jobs for everybody without discrimination between the applicants, for example, and the security forces should be made up of all the Iraqi people from everywhere. This should be so in order for citizens to feel that there is no discrimination, and that the situation is different from what it was like during the time of the tyrant Saddam. Before, employment was granted on the basis of the person’s family name and origin, and other similar nonsensical things that the previous regime did. But now, citizens want to see that the situation has changed in a concrete manner. This is the duty of the government, in order to alleviate pressures on citizens and not intensify them. People in government should set aside the personal differences among themselves for the sake of Iraq, and for the sake of the citizens’ well-being, which comes first, above everything else. Because the Iraqi citizens have suffered much, and they deserve to enjoy a normal life, far away from problems, killing, prison, terrorism and so on, and it is their right to enjoy a pleasant and comfortable life, and to be provided with the services that they were deprived of for many long years, taking into account that all the countries provide these services to their citizens, because this is part of the government’s responsibilities. When will the government turn its attention to the ordinary Iraqi citizens in a real way regarding all these issues?

  • موسى

    2010-6-7

    His arrest comforted the victims’ families as it was a strike to Al-Qaeda, which was headed by this criminal in Baghdad. Al-Qaeda must appoint his successor in Baghdad, if they can, of course. This is impossible in the presence of the police forces and intelligence services which proves that Al-Qaeda no longer has a place in Iraq and has been exposed. Indeed, the arrest of the “Wali of Baghdad,” his entourage and collaborators toppled the “best organization” that works well in the terrorist organization as Baghdad had witnessed many infiltrations and continuous explosions. It is true that recently, peace reigned over Baghdad, but the terrorists deliberately provoked the Iraqi streets and media; they rest for a period of time, and then Baghdad wakes up to a bloody morning, where four or five explosions target State Departments or Ministries and other establishments.

  • فواز عبدالرحيم

    2010-6-6

    Actually, what the heroic security forces are currently doing is definitive proof of the power of the Iraqi government; and the Iraqi judiciary system which is trying and sentencing them through Iraqi courts is also evidence of the independence of the judiciary, and the freedom it possesses which is necessary by law to act in all cases.

  • علياء

    2010-6-4

    The arrest of such a terrorist will necessarily lead to paralyzing and destabilizing this organization, albeit temporarily. Obtaining his confessions will enable the Security Services to find out the latest plans and tactics employed by the members of this criminal organization for the implementation of their shameful and heinous operations against Iraq’s sons. They would also find out their ways of getting money, their sources and the names of their leaders who work in secret. Such large operations carried out by the police and the army will contribute to increasing the citizens’ confidence in the capacities of their Security Services, knowing that the latter have the ability to strike these criminals and murderers, who are targeting this country and its sons, to destroy their hideouts, and to arrest and eradicate them for good.

  • ناطق

    2010-6-3

    Arresting such a criminal terrorist will shake the foundations of the organization and make the majority of its leaders and members flee .The fact that the security forces succeeded in arresting him means that the rest will face the same fate. In other words, they will face either death or arrest at the hands of the Iraqi security forces who show no mercy to those who shed the blood of Iraqis whose only guilt is being Iraqi.

  • 2010-6-3

    The terrorist organization of Al-Qaeda is one of the most dangerous armed organizations and gangs that attempts to impose itself and its ideology upon societies by the use of force. What has happened in Iraq is the best evidence of this, where the terrorists engaged in the most heinous activities in order to destabilize Iraq and to disrupt the ongoing democratic political process in Iraq after its liberation from the dictatorial regime, a burden borne by Iraqis for more than three decades. They want to halt the development and reconstruction process that is occurring in Iraq by igniting sectarian strife among the citizens of the same nation, and tearing it apart into groups and sects that fight among themselves over religion, schools of thought or ethnicity. The cowardly terrorists executed their plan by targeting churches at times, and mosques at other times, in order to cause strife between Iraqi Muslims and Christians. When they saw that they were unsuccessful at breaching the unified ranks of the Iraqi people by using religion, they attempted to cause trouble within the ranks of people belonging to the same religion. We have seen how they attacked the mosques, the Husseiniyats and sacred religious shrines without any compunction about the fact that these places of worship and sacred shrines are for all Iraqis, and not for one particular group or sect only. This is why their methods and attempts were bound to fail, because of the solidarity of the fervid and noble Iraqis, and the honorable stance of the brave clerics who told the truth that Iraqis have to think about who those people are that gain from such actions, and who those terrorists are that seek an opportune moment in order to carry out such acts. There is also the courageous and firm stance of the men of the security forces and agencies in all the security-related ministries, and which worked to limit the danger surrounding Iraq and Iraqis by infiltrating terrorist networks and kill and arrest those criminals and reduce their danger.

  • زهير المرشدي

    2010-6-2

    You Iraqi people are heroes. To arrest someone in the position of a leader in the capital Baghdad is a significant achievement of the Iraqi security forces, especially because he was not killed, he was captured alive and investigations were conducted with him. These investigations were very helpful for the success of the operations and the strikes of the Iraqi security forces, because the investigations of him enabled the security forces to reach many of the terrorists' dens and several people who collaborated with terrorism, among those who had been bribed with money or whatever else. The terrorist leader in Baghdad confessed everything on television; the crimes they planned, who supported and trained him, and he also admitted that he was the reason that enabled the security forces to find the most dangerous criminals, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir or Abu Ayyub al-Masri. From here came the strongly worded message of the security forces to all the terrorists' elements.

  • رستم

    2010-6-2

    I think that giving those criminals the death penalty is the least thing they deserve, because they have killed many innocent people in Iraq, leaving their countries and traveling to Iraq to kill innocent people, and the reason for that is unknown. We do know the stated reason, which is Jihad, but the real reason is unknown to this day, and no one knows why they kill innocent people and what kind of Jihad this is! And what is the law or the religion it is based on, that gave them the right to kill the innocents? But the truth is that those are criminals, who are used to killing and shedding blood, and they seek destruction for Iraq. Therefore, those criminals should be punished with the most severe penalties, to be a lesson for the other terrorists, because if the other terrorists see that those who have been arrested are sitting in prisons, eating and drinking without a trial and execution, they will find it easy, and if they are arrested, they will stay in prison, but if those criminals are executed, all the other terrorists will know what their destiny will be if they are arrested, which might lead them to change their minds about joining this terrorist organization or continuing to assist it.

  • عبد السميع

    2010-6-2

    Such criminals do not need a court, as evidences are provided and available, and the crimes that they commit are a witness against them, and these criminals know what their fate would be, once they are arrested in any country, as the punishment should be carried out as soon as possible to satisfy the victims of crimes which were caused by bombings, taking the lives of many innocent people, and because the families of these innocent people will be comforted as soon as the death sentence is given to these criminals. I do not think that there is anyone who wishes to see these criminals in jail for a long time, and eat and breed after they have committed acts of terrorism. And the tapes that they have aired on some news channels are evidence of their crimes. I think the evidence is sufficient to kill and hang these infidels, who have killed innocent people, and even if there were another sentence worse than the death penalty, we would have asked that they be given that penalty, but the death penalty and in front of the whole world is the least we can offer them as punishment for the crimes they have committed. Being sentenced by the Shari'a courts will not be enough. The most important thing is to capture them as quickly as possible and take the confessions required from them to tell about all the leaders of the organization and their hideouts, and then to execute them quickly and in front of the world, to be a lesson to those who are thinking about establishing such an organization again.

  • كنعان

    2010-5-31

    This criminal exploits the naïve and poor people, and makes them do what he wants to achieve by killing themselves. What kind of stupidity would cause someone to kill himself for the sake of money? And where does Osama bin Laden get all these stupid criminals? In fact, he looks for these mindless types who have no education or proper way of thinking from all over the world. They are like the leader of this organization, Osama bin Laden, who wants to fight the whole world with his old rifle, his unclean beard, his dirty clothes, and his criminal mind. This is what causes many intellectuals and informed people to criticize the fact that this criminal continues to do what he does. And he tries to support his organization and recruit new elements in order to try to increase the number of members in the organization. His Al-Qaeda is an Al-Qaeda of rotten corpses, booby traps and rockets, and an Al-Qaeda of killing innocent people and assassinating professors and scholars. This is the Al-Qaeda of the depraved Osama bin Laden, who sends booby-trappers into Iraq, and watches them kill innocent people, not by chance or mistake, but on the orders of this depraved, criminal pervert, and his other leaders who assist him.

  • نعمان الحق

    2010-5-29

    The Iraqi forces have become the foremost anti-terrorism forces in the Middle East.

  • 2010-5-28

    If the police forces continue to do their job this way, the reality of Iraq will change. In fact, the country will soon witness the end of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. After that, Iraq will witness reconstruction and the establishment of the necessary facilities. Iraq will rehabilitate the infrastructure, without fear of being targeted again by terrorists. This will make the future of Iraq promising.

  • 2010-5-27

    The Iraqi government and the Iraqi law must meet the requirements of the Iraqi people and the demands of the victims’ families. Many terrorists and murderers are jailed and haven’t been judged yet. And even if they are tried, it is not a real trial, due to the absence of the appropriate sanctions to take revenge on these terrorists and gangsters who have killed many innocent Iraqi citizens at home and at work. We call on the Iraqi government and the Iraqi judiciary to execute the killers and their accomplices, whoever they might be, and whatever their religion and doctrine. All Iraqis, regardless of their religion or ideology, have an equal right to life.

  • عقيل حامد

    2010-5-26

    The Al-Qaeda organization is about to collapse after the many crimes endured by all the Iraqi people, including the government. This terrorist organization has targeted everyone, even the innocent people. The end of this organization is near, as many of its members and leaders have been killed or arrested by the Iraqi Security Forces. The Security Forces have launched many strikes which contributed to the dismantling of terrorism in Iraq and creating a state of confusion within this criminal organization. The terrorists have started to collapse from within, thanks to these operations carried out by the Security Forces against them. In fact, most of these operations are successful. Indeed, the Security Forces have carried out many raids and captured their leaders. This will instill fear in the terrorists. Not only have the Security Forces hit terrorists, they have also besieged them in their places and prevented them from getting supplies by controlling the boundaries. This collapse has facilitated the task of the Security Forces. Many of the terrorists have surrendered and confessed to their crimes. They have even supplied information to the Security Forces to enable them to capture other elements that operate in secret with Al-Qaeda.

  • جمعة شوان

    2010-5-25

    The Syrian government, the Arab and sister country, should contribute to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq, to help it stand again after the many devastating wars undergone by it, instead of destroying Iraq and targeting innocent people by supporting terrorism and sheltering many wanted elements who were working with the previous regime, and who are among the financiers of terrorism there in Syria. Syria is a sister Arab state which is linked with Iraq by many ties, such as Arabism, religion, neighborhood and other common matters, so it must protect Iraq and support its government and people. However, the purpose behind these acts done by the Syrian government is clear and revealed to all. The Syrian government does not want political success in Iraq, in order not to circulate the idea to the rest of the region, which may be the reason for their loss of power. They do not want to live in the democracy currently experienced by Iraq, and they want to communicate to the entire world that democracy in Iraq has failed and will not succeed, but the people have proved the contrary. Unlike many other neighboring countries, Iraq is experiencing much freedom in terms of the elections that we saw, and freedom of the press and expression of opinion. This is the biggest proof of the success of Iraqi democracy. So, Syria must refrain from such acts, control its borders, prevent the sneaking of terrorists through it, and it must act rationally and morally and observe the rights of religion and neighborhood, as we are two sister countries with strong ties and a great history.

  • كمال

    2010-5-23

    Iraq was a safe haven for al-Qaeda terrorists and scoundrels, who met in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's Baath Party elements had a strong hand in helping these human germs go to Iraq to kill innocent Iraqi people. Now it is time for accountability, O Al-Qaeda criminals, and you will get their punishment in the afterlife.

  • عراقي

    2010-5-23

    The government must try these terrorist criminal gangs, so they will be a lesson to those who intend to come from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Yemen, Libya and Egypt to Iraq. They must be sentenced with the most severe penalties, which should be announced, so they will reach terrorist training camps in Syria and serve as a deterrent for their actions, and for them to know what their fate will be if they intend to continue coming to the Iraqi territories in order to destroy everything and kill innocent people. They will be sentenced to death by the Iraqi people.

  • 2010-5-22

    Terrorism is forbidden and prohibited; it is intended to frighten the innocent and secure civilian people, whether they are Muslims, or people who have taken a vow not to kill, or people who have entered the country seeking protection and security, or non-Muslim subjects in a classical Islamic state, or the unbelievers. When it is practiced on Muslims, it's called fighting, but when it is practiced on others, it's called injustice! When practiced on anyone, it is corruption on earth; it is forbidden in the Quran and the Sunnah as a kind of injustice and oppression. Intimidation and terrorizing of secure, safe people of any divine religion is considered to be oppression and aggression. Narrated by Imam Ahmad and others, Abu Dhar said: The prophet, peace be upon him said: "God Almighty said: O my servants, I have forbidden injustice against myself and have made it forbidden among you, so deal not unjustly."

  • عمرو

    2010-5-21

    There are similarities between what happened in terms of terrorism in Algeria, and what is happening in Iraq. In the Algerian civil war, there was cooperation between the Baath Party, Abassi Madani and Ali Belhadj. Salafi extremist movements and the remnants of the Baath are the ones behind the beheadings in Iraq. The experience of Algeria is currently being applied in Iraq. And, according to the demographic nature of Iraq, the terrorist elements are scattered in a small geographic region, but the forces of evil and darkness in Iraq have support from some neighboring Arab countries. Despite the limited area over which terrorists spread, their operations have hurt Iraqi society and caused a sectarian and ethnic rift. They have the weapons and techniques that are more extreme than the ones that were used in Algeria.

  • محسن توفيق

    2010-5-20

    God keep every takfiri terrorist away from us who does not want what's good for Iraq. How painful those distressful reports are when we hear of the killing of hundreds of honorable Iraqis at the hands of the takfiri murdering terrorists... God have mercy on your souls, you martyrs; we ask our generous God to grant your families patience and solace. We also ask the merciful God to release this nation from sorrow. We would like the Iraqi government, after proving that the suspects are guilty, to take strong measures against those who have committed their brutal crimes against the innocent Iraqi people. We wish them death and the death sentence.

  • نادية عبدالله

    2010-5-20

    We demand punishment for the terrorists for the blood of the martyrs who have died defending the country’s freedom, safety, security and stability. We also demand punishment for the sake of the widows and orphans who have lost their loved ones while they were defending the country’s glory, unity and dignity, and we demand that you apply the punishment to all the neighboring countries that support terrorism.

  • ابو سلمة

    2010-5-20

    God is sufficient for me, God have mercy on the martyrs of my country and punish all those who kill and rejoice in the death of the sons of this country. God have mercy on the honorable Arabs, who have sacrificed the dearest things and their own souls for their religion and their country. Shame on all the terrorists, and much more shame on those who encourage or support the criminals. Did God teach us to kill Muslims and to shed the blood of the innocents? Are these the customs of the reformers and of those with a message? What can we Arabs be proud of, as long as, even if we don’t actually commit the killing, but we still encourage and support the killers and make excuses for them?