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Iraq Arrests 3 Suspected Qaeda Leaders: Ministry - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An Iraqi soldier shows off a flyer for the "The Islamic State of Iraq" which highlights senior al-Qaeda members as weapons seized by Iraqi security forces are displayed to the press at an Iraqi base in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad on May18, 2010. (AFP)

An Iraqi soldier shows off a flyer for the “The Islamic State of Iraq” which highlights senior al-Qaeda members as weapons seized by Iraqi security forces are displayed to the press at an Iraqi base in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad on May18, 2010. (AFP)

Baghdad, (AFP) – Authorities have arrested three suspected senior leaders of Al-Qaeda’s front group in Iraq, including its self-styled minister of defence, a spokesman said on Sunday.

Also among the group detained were two brothers suspected of masterminding major attacks in the central Iraqi province of Diyala, defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari told AFP.

“Iraqi soldiers arrested Saleem Khalid al-Zawbayi, the minister of defence for the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI),” Askari said.

“He was arrested on Wednesday evening south of Baghdad,” he added.

Zawbayi is suspected of organising a July 18 suicide bombing in the town of Radwaniyah, west of Baghdad, targeting anti-Qaeda militiamen being paid their wages. Forty-five people were killed and 46 wounded.

Askari also said that two brothers — Jaabar and Qadoori Radhi Khamis al-Zaidi — believed to have been responsible for operations in Diyala, were arrested in the northern city of Tikrit, where they were based.

The two were ISI “emirs”, according to Askari.

The arrests came as Iraqi security forces pressed a manhunt for four suspected Al-Qaeda members who escaped from a jail on the outskirts of Baghdad last week.

The four who escaped from the Cropper detention facility were the ISI’s suspected ministers of justice and finance, along with a “judge” and another suspected Al-Qaeda member, a police source said.

Their disappearance has been a major embarrassment for the Iraqi government, which only a week ago took over the Cropper facility from the US military.

“We are working with the Iraqi ministry of justice to do an investigation to determine how this exactly could have happened,” Lieutenant General Robert Cone, the deputy commanding general for US forces in Iraq, said on Friday.

“It certainly is disturbing.”

Iraqi security forces monitor traffic in the Karrada district of Iraq's capital Baghdad on January 27, 2010. (AFP)

Iraqi security forces monitor traffic in the Karrada district of Iraq’s capital Baghdad on January 27, 2010. (AFP)

Iraqi soldiers inspect the site of a suicide attack targeting anti-Qaeda militiamen being paid their wages in Radwaniyah, a former insurgent hotspot 25 kms (16 miles) from Baghdad, on July 18, 2010. (AFP)

Iraqi soldiers inspect the site of a suicide attack targeting anti-Qaeda militiamen being paid their wages in Radwaniyah, a former insurgent hotspot 25 kms (16 miles) from Baghdad, on July 18, 2010. (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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