The leader of the al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq has been captured in a raid west of Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman said Friday.
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was captured Friday in a raid in Abu Ghraib on the western outskirts of Baghdad, said Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman of the Baghdad security operation. U.S. officials had no confirmation of the capture.
“One of the terrorists who was arrested with him confessed that the one in our hands is al-Baghdadi,” al-Moussawi said.
Al-Baghdadi has been identified in statements posted on Islamic extremist Web sites as the head of the Islamic State, which was proclaimed last year after the death of the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Al-Baghdadi was said to have headed the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an alliance of al-Qaida and other jihadist organizations, which was set up last year to downplay the role of foreigners in the Iraqi insurgency.
A more recent report from Iraqi authorities denies that the captured individual is A-Baghdadi, but asserts that he is “a senior Al Qaeda leader.”