Zarqawi Lieutenant Arrested in Iraq

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An Iraqi government official says al-Qaida in Iraq's second in command has been captured.

Iraq's National Security Adviser Mufaq al-Rubaie told reporters Sunday that Hamed Farid al-Saeedi was arrested a few days ago.

Al-Saeedi is reportedly the mastermind behind the February bombing of a Shia shrine in Samarra. That attack is one of the seminal moments of modern Iraq. Images of the shattered gold dome of the shrine sparked the wave of sectarian violence that has Iraq on the verge of a full-scale civil war. Al Rubaie said that was al-Qaida's goal.

"Under the orders of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi," he said, "al-Saeedi planned the bombing to ignite a civil war between Sunnis and Shi'ites."

In addition to the bombing, al-Saeedi is believed to have planned and carried out countless kidnappings, bombings and assassinations.

Working on intelligence gained after the death of Zarqawi, Hamed al-Saeedi was tracked down to a house in Tikrit, where he was reportedly found hiding behind women and children. Al-Saeedi was captured by Iraqi Forces, without a shot being fired.

Rubaie also said this successful raid shows the capability and professionalism of Iraq's security forces and intelligence operations. U.S. military sources confirmed to NPR the capture of al-Saeedi and his status as the deputy commander of al-Qaida in Iraq.



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