"This terrorist had deep ties with the former regime and created with
its followers a devil's pact reflected in bloody scenes of carnage involving
innocent children and women and the elderly," Al Maliki said.
"As someone who works at the Defense Ministry and in the security field,
I affirm that this is Abu Omar Al Baghdadi," Defense Ministry spokesman
Mohammed Al Askari said.
Nearly 200 people have been killed in wake of Al Baghdadi's arrest,
announced by the Interior Ministry on April 23. Officials said the killings
were the result of suicide bombings arranged by Al Qaida and Saddam
[On late April 29, Baghdad was rocked by six bombings in which 52 people
were killed. The last two attacks were comprised of car bombs detonated near
a mosque in western Baghdad.]
The United States has refused to confirm the capture of Al Baghdadi,
whose arrest was denied by Al Qaida elements. In 2007, Iraq twice announced
the death of Al Baghdadi.
Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf, however, said the
suicide car bombings were planned by an Al Qaida cell that had penetrated
the Baghdad police. Khalaf cited a spate of attacks in the Iraqi capital on
April 6, said to have been facilitated by an unidentified Shi'ite police
The officer was said to have been arrested three days later.
Regardless, the government has maintained that Iraqi security forces
captured Al Baghdadi alone. Iraqi military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta
said Al Baghdadi was tracked and lured to eastern Baghdad, where he was
"The arrest is a new victory for the Iraqi security agencies and a
decisive response to the remnants of the terrorist organizations," Atta
The general said Al Baghdadi was the de facto successor of Abu Mussib Al
Zarqawi, slain in a U.S. air strike in 2006. He said Al Baghdadi, currently
investigation to determine his sources of funding, was working with the
formal head of the Al Qaida network in Iraq, Abu Ayoub Al Masri.
"The results of investigations with the terrorist leader and other
members of the affiliate cells of Al Qaida Organization in Iraq will be made
public soon," Atta told a news conference on April 28. "The terrorist acts
involving mass killings, kidnappings and expulsion along sectarian
lines. They targeted mosques, churches, Shi'ite sites, universities and
public places, and left thousands of innocent victims."