U.S. captures key Zarqawi aide

Sunday, June 6, 2004

BAGHDAD The U.S. military has captured a top aide to Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi, regarded as the most lethal insurgent in Iraq.

U.S. military officials said coalition forces captured Umar Baziyani, the leading aide to Al Zarqawi. The officials said Baziyani was captured on June 4 in Baghdad.

Baziyani was said to have formed contacts with several insurgency groups in Iraq, officials said. They said he was also sought in connection with a series of attacks on coalition forces in Iraq.

"Baziyani, an associate of terrorist leader Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi, is known to have ties to several extremist terrorist groups in Iraq, and is believed to be responsible for the death and injury of scores of innocent Iraqi citizens," U.S. Central Command said in a statement. "Authorities say Baziyani is also wanted in connection with anti-coalition activities," Middle East Newsline reported.

The statement said Baziyani has been interrogated and provided information to coalition forces. Central Command did not elaborate. "His capture removes one of Zarqawi's most valuable officers from his network," Central Command said.

Al Zarqawi was said to have been responsible for many of the suicide car bombings in the Baghdad area. On Saturday, two U.S. soldiers were killed and two others were injured in a series of attacks. The Americans were killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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