Al Qaeda Leader Captured in June, U.S. Spokesman Says

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sep. 6, 2006 - A high-level al Qaeda in Iraq leader whose capture was announced Sept. 3 by the Iraqi government was actually captured June 19 and has been yielding valuable intelligence since then, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq said today.

Abu Humam, also known as Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi and Abu Rana, has been in custody of the Iraqi government since his capture near Baquba, and has provided intelligence that has led to the capture of 11 mid-level and nine lower-level al Qaeda in Iraq members, said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.

"He was the most significant al Qaeda leader captured since the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," Caldwell said. "Abu Humam admitted to being a senior leader within the terrorist organization, particularly in the Saladin region, where he had several terrorist cells reporting directly to him."

The announcement of Humam's capture, which came from Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the Iraqi national security advisor, was made because the Iraqi government had just cleared the release of the information, Caldwell said. The announcement was not made sooner because Humam was still providing actionable intelligence and the Iraqi government didn't want the terrorists he was associated with to change their tactics, he said. In most cases, when terrorists are captured, their capture is not announced until their intelligence value has been exhausted, he explained.

Over the past two weeks, Iraqi security forces with coalition support have conducted many other successful operations that continue to dismantle and disorganize the al Qaeda in Iraq network, Caldwell said. Iraqi forces have conducted more than 80 missions targeting the al Qaeda in Iraq network, resulting in the deaths of 49 terrorists and the detention of 225 other suspected terrorists, he said. Those detained were connected with terrorist activities including emplacing improvised explosive devices, kidnapping, murders, armed attacks, and facilitating movement of foreign fighters, weapons, explosive materials and funding, he said.

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