BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraqi security forces captured Al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last year but released him because they did not know who he was, a senior Iraqi official told AFP.
"He was arrested more than one year ago in Fallujah by Iraqi police," deputy interior minister Hussain Kamal said Friday. "It seems they did not recognize him, that”s why they released him."
The Jordanian-born Zarqawi is Iraq”s most wanted man and has a 25-million-dollar US bounty on his head.
"He is human, he does not have the power of God," Kamal insisted. "We will bring him to justice."
Zarqawi is allegedly the mastermind of numerous bombings, armed attacks, hostage murders and other acts of violence in Iraq, and has been sentenced to death in Jordan for the 2002 murder of a US diplomat.
"He got away once, he will not get away the next time," Kamal told AFP. "He will be tried for the crimes he committed against the Iraqi people."
US military forces in Iraq have also said they came close to capturing Zarqawi in February and April.