The leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been captured according to Defence Ministry officials there. The detained suspect is said to be an Egyptian called Abu Ayyab al Masri. American military officials had no immediate information on the reports that Masri has been caught in the northern city of Mosul. Masri trained in Afghanistan and formed Al-Qaeda’s first cell in Baghdad.
Masri has a five million dollar bounty on his head. A close associate of the infamous Jordanian militant Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, who was killed in a US air strike in 2006, he pledged to continue Zarqawi’s campaign of kidnapping and beheading westerners.
Last May Iraq’s interior ministry said Masri had been killed, but last month he appeared on audio tapes calling for renewed attacks on American troops. It is understood the suspect has been taken into custody by American military officials in an effort to establish his identity.