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.

NAME
‘Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi

PHONETICS
AHB-dahl HAH-dee ahl-eeRAHkee

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

AFFILIATION
Al-Qa’ida

NATIONALITY
Iraqi

‘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

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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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