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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 January, 2005, 12:07 GMT
US hails arrest of Iraq militant
By David Willis
BBC News, Baghdad

Black and white picture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
America has branded al-Zarqawi public enemy number one in Iraq
American forces have announced the arrest of a key member of an al-Qaeda-linked group in Iraq.

The man, known as Abu Ahmed, was captured last month. His group is said to be closely allied with that of militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The US military says Abu Ahmed had been conducting and co-ordinating terrorist operations in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The US has been focusing on Iraq's third largest city since it completed its offensive in Falluja last November.

Reward offered

The US is hailing the capture of Abdul Aziz Sa'dun Ahmed Hamduni, known as Abu Ahmed, together with that of other members of the same group, as a sign of what it calls significant progress in the inevitable destruction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network in Mosul.

Al-Zarqawi, who has claimed responsibility for many of the most deadly suicide bombings in Iraq as well as the beheading of foreign hostages, has been branded public enemy number one in Iraq by America.

Yet despite offering a $25m reward for information leading to his capture or death, he remains at large and is thought to have stepped up attacks ahead of elections scheduled to take place in three weeks time.

Last month a suicide bomb attack on an American military base in Mosul caused the deaths of 22 soldiers and contractors; a separate group subsequently claimed responsibility for that blast.



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