Iraqi counter-terrorism forces have arrested the top leader of the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq network in northern Baghdad and seized a list of names and locations of other operatives.
According to Iraqi media, the man in custody is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was named head of the Islamic State of Iraq two years ago.
On Sunday, Samir al-Shuili spokesman for a counter-terrorism unit confirmed that members of the unit infiltrated the Islamic State of Iraq and that operatives on the list were from other Arab countries and Iraq was seeking the help of those countries in arresting them, al-Jazeera news network reported.
Two senior Iraqi security officials speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the man arrested was a senior leader of the terrorist network.
They said they were not revealing his name for security reasons.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a shadowy group that was once allegedly led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi was reportedly killed in June 2006.
According to US government and military officials, the group was then led by Ayyub al-Masri, who was killed along with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi — another leader of the group — in a joint Iraqi-US operation in Salahuddin Province in April 2010.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been blamed for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the country since the US-led invasion in March 2003.