LIANE HANSEN, host:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.
An Iraqi government official says the number two man in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq has been captured. Iraq's National Security advisor told reporters in Baghdad today that Hamed Farid al-Saeedi was arrested a few days ago.
NPR's Tom Bullock in Baghdad reports.
TOM BULLOCK reporting:
Mowaffak al-Rubaie was smiling from ear to ear as he made the announcement.
Mr. MOWAFFAK AL-RUBAIE (Iraqi National Security Advisor, Iraq): (Foreign language spoken)
BULLOCK: His name is Hamed al-Saeedi, Rubaie said, and he is the mastermind behind the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February. 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. National Security Advisor al-Rubaie said that was al-Qaida's goal.
Mr. AL-RUBAIE: (Foreign language spoken)
BULLOCK: Under the orders of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, he said, al-Saeedi planned the bombing to ignite a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. Besides the bombing, al-Saeedi is believed to have planned and carried out countless kidnappings, bombings and assassinations. Al-Rubaie told reporters that Iraqi security forces, working on intelligence gained after the death of Zarqawi, tracked Hamed al-Saeedi to a house in Tikrit, where he was captured without a shot being fired.
Mr. AL-RUBIE: (Foreign language spoken)
BULLOCK: Rubaie also said this successful raid shows the capability and professionalism of Iraq's security forces and intelligence operations. U.S. military sources confirm to NPR the capture of al-Saeedi and his status as the deputy commander of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Tom Bullock, NPR News, Baghdad.
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