CNN: Iraq mistakenly freed terror leader
Updated: 2005-12-16 11:12
Iraqi security forces caught terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi but released
him because they didn't realize who he was, the deputy interior minister said
Thursday, according to CNN.
The deputy interior minister, Hussein Kamal, said the Jordanian-born leader
of al-Qaida in Iraq was in custody sometime last year, but he wouldn't provide
further details, CNN reported.
The report could not be confirmed, but a U.S. official said in Washington
that American intelligence believed it was plausible. The official spoke on
condition of anonymity in compliance with office policy.
A poster distributed by the US army in
February 2004 shows Al-Qaeda militant Abu Musab
There have been several reports of missed opportunities to capture
al-Zarqawi, including an April 28 raid by U.S. forces acting on a tip from local
informants that militants reportedly including the terror leader were hiding in
a hospital in Ramadi.
Al-Qaida in Iraq and Iraqi officials also denied reports last month that
al-Zarqawi was among those killed in a raid and gunfight in the northern city of
Al-Zarqawi, who has claimed responsibility for several attacks in Iraq along
with the kidnappings and beheadings of foreigners, has a $25 million bounty on
He also drew criticism in his home country of Jordan after his insurgent
group claimed responsibility for the deadly Nov. 9 attacks on hotels in Amman.
Jordan sentenced al-Zarqawi to death in absentia for planning a terror plot
that led to the 2002 killing of U.S. aid worker Laurence Foley. He has claimed
responsibility for several other plots in Jordan, including a foiled April 2004