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U.S. raises Zarqawi reward to $25m

Acts of terror

(CNN) -- The bounty on the head of Abu Musal al-Zarqawi, the accused terrorist mastermind in Iraq, has been raised to $25 million.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had authorized the increase, from the previous reward of $10 million for Zarqawi's capture or conviction, a State Department spokesman said on Wednesday.

"Zarqawi has had a long-standing connection to the senior leadership of al Qaeda. His organization has committed numerous atrocities in Iraq in recent months, including the barbaric murder of American citizen Nick Berg," spokesman Adam Ereli said in a statement.

Zarqawi is also blamed for dozens of attacks on coalition forces and Iraqi civilians.

His terror network has claimed responsibility for strikes on police and security forces in Iraq last week that left around 100 dead.

He is also believed to be behind the beheading of two hostages in Iraq, an American and a South Korean.

"The United States is determined to bring him to justice for his crimes. We encourage anyone with information on Zarqawi's location to contact U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, any U.S. military commander or other U.S. official in Iraq, any U.S. embassy, mission, or consulate, or the Rewards for Justice staff via e-mail at," the statement read.

The reward for the capture of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was also $25 million.

That's also the amount offered for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

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