BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP – Iraqi authorities have arrested the second most senior figure in al-Qaeda in Iraq, the national security adviser said Sunday.
Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana, was arrested a few days ago, Mouwaffak al-Rubaie said.
He was the No. 2 in al-Qaeda in Iraq after slain leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Rubaie said. He was also responsible for the person who carried out the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, he said.
“He’s the second man in the organization,” al-Rubaie said.
The suspect was “directly responsible for the criminal Haitham al-Badri, the mastermind and the bomber of the Samarra shrine,” he added.
The bombing of the Shiite shrine in February inflamed tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims and triggered reprisal attacks that continue to this day.
“As we promised our people we will relentlessly continue our war on terror,” the national security adviser said.