Friday afternoon news: Senior al-Qaida operative captured

Claude Chafin emailed the news,

Pentagon says senior al-Qaida operative captured, taken to Guantanamo Bay

WASHINGTON – (AP) The Pentagon said Friday it has custody of one of al-Qaida’s most senior and most experienced operatives, an Iraqi who was attempting to return to his native country when he was captured.

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the captive is Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. He was received by the Pentagon from the CIA, Whitman said, but the spokesman would not say where or when al-Iraqi was captured or by whom.

The Pentagon took custody of him at Guantanamo Bay this week, Whitman said.
Whitman said the terror suspect was responsible for plotting cross-border attacks from Pakistan on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

‘Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi

AHB-dahl HAH-dee ahl-eeRAHkee

Nashwan ‘Abd al-Razzaq ‘Abd al-Baqi (true name)



‘Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was one of al-Qa’ida’s highest-ranking and experienced senior operatives at the time of his detention. He had been one of the organization’s key paramilitary commanders in Afghanistan from the late 1990s and, during 2002-04, was in charge of cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against Coalition forces. In recent years, he also directed plots to assassinate perceived opponents of al-Qa’ida, including Pakistani President Pervez Musharaf and a United Nations official.

· ‘Abd al-Hadi was trying to return to his native country, Iraq , to manage al-Qa’ida’s affairs and possibly focus on operations outside Iraq against Western targets. ‘Abd al-Hadi also met with al-Qa’ida members in Iran and believed that they should be doing more with the fight, including supporting efforts in Iraq and causing problems within Iran .

· ‘Abd al-Hadi provided leadership and reconnaissance support during a rocket attack in the fall of 2003 against US military forces in Afghanistan .

‘Abd al-Hadi was born in Mosul, Iraq, in 1961. He is a former member of the Iraqi military who spent more than 15 years in Afghanistan . Before September 11, 2001, he was a member of al-Qa’ida’s ruling Shura Council – a now-defunct 10-person advisory body to Usama Bin Ladin – as well as the group’s Military Committee, which oversaw terrorist and guerrilla operations and paramilitary training. ‘Abd al-Hadi has been a member of al‑Qa’ida since the late 1990s, working for a long time as an instructor in one of al-Qa’ida’s training camps in Afghanistan .

· ‘Abd al-Hadi was known and trusted by Bin Ladin and Ayman al-Zawahiri. ‘Abd al-Hadi was in direct communication with both leaders and, at one point, was Zawahiri’s caretaker. ‘Abd al-Hadi also interacted with other senior al-Qa’ida planners and decisionmakers, such as Khalid Shaykh Muhammad and Abu Faraj al-Libi, and deceased al-Qa’ida members Hamza Rabi’a and ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Muhajir.

· ‘Abd al-Hadi associated with leaders of other extremist groups allied with al-Qa‘ida in Afghanistan and Pakistan , including the Taliban. Abd al-Hadi worked directly with the Taliban to determine responsibility and lines of communication between Taliban and al-Qa’ida leaders in Afghanistan, specifically with regard to the targeting of U.S. Forces.

More at the BBC


In other (totally unrelated) news, my next Blog Talk Radio guest will be filmmaker Tim Montgomerie, who made the World Without America videos. Join us at noon Monday, April 30.
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