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Al Qaeda-tied terrorist nabbed in Iraq

From David Ensor
CNN Washington Bureau

A member of a terror group linked to Abu Musab al Zarqawi (above) has been captured in Iraq by U.S. forces.

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A member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group operating in Baghdad has been captured by U.S. forces. CNN's David Ensor reports (April 30)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senior Bush administration officials Tuesday said a member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group operating in Iraq has been captured by U.S. forces.

Sources said the individual is a member of a group operating in western Baghdad under the leadership of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian believed by the United States to have been the mastermind behind the assassination of American diplomat Lawrence Foley in Amman last October.

Zarqawi was said to have received medical treatment in Baghdad in May and June of 2002 after being wounded in Afghanistan during the war. His leg was amputated, U.S. officials say, by a surgeon in Iraq.

Before the war, Secretary of State Colin Powell pointed to Zarqawi's al Qaeda-affiliated group that he said was operating inside Baghdad, as evidence of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq.

Powell told the U.N. Security Council in early February that after al Qaeda and the Taliban were ousted from Afghanistan, Zarqawi established a camp in northeastern Iraq to train terrorists in using explosives and poisons.

During Zarqawi's stay in Baghdad, nearly two dozen of his associates set up a base of operations in the capital to move people, money and supplies throughout the country, said Powell.

The United States, using another international intelligence service as an intermediary, twice gave the Iraqi government information it could have used to apprehend Zarqawi and break the Baghdad cell, but "Zarqawi still remains at large to come and go," Powell said. "From his terrorist network in Iraq, Zarqawi can direct his network in the Middle East and beyond."

Mohamed Aldouri, Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations before the war, denied Powell's charges, saying Iraqi officials never met with Zarqawi.

Administration officials say they do not know yet whether the newly captured individual -- as yet not named by U.S. officials -- had any connections with the government of Iraq.

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