It's good to see that Dick Durbin's population of captured terrorists that he can advocate for continues to grow... (is that cruel of me to say? If it takes you more than 5 seconds to answer, you've got a problem.)
MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) - A top aide to Al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been captured in Iraq's northern city of Mosul, the US military revealed.
Mohammed Khalaf Shakar, also known as Abu Talha, is "Zarqawi's most trusted operations agent in all of Iraq," a military statement said Thursday.
"This is a major defeat for the Al-Qaeda's terrorist organisation in Iraq. Zarqawi's leader in Mosul is out of business," said US Air Force Brigadier General Donald Alston.
According to the military statement, he surrendered to US and Iraqi forces on Tuesday without a fight in "a quiet neighbourhood in Mosul" after they were led to his whereabouts by "multiple intelligence sources."
"According to former Talha associates, Talha never stayed more than one night at any one residence," the statement added.
Alston, the new top military spokesman, told reporters in Baghdad: "Numerous reports indicated he wore a suicide vest 24 hours a day and stated he would never surrender. Instead Talha gave up without a fight."
Iraqi authorities said recently they had captured one of Abu Talha's most trusted aides and his financial manager, Motleq Mahmud Motleq Abdullah, also known as Abu Raed, in Mosul on May 28.
They had also announced the arrest of another Zarqawi aide in Mosul known as Mullah Mehdi.
Abu Talha is accused of masterminding some of the deadliest attacks against US and Iraqi forces in Mosul. Iraq's third-largest city, it has been a major front for the insurgency since November.
"Talha fell like so many others fall, and that is through a combination of factors that ultimately catch up to him," Alston said.
"In his case like so many others along the way, civilians helped us get closer to him."
Jordanian-born Zarqawi, who is the most-wanted man in Iraq and has a 25-million-dollar bounty on his head, is believed to have been wounded but the severity of his wounds are not known.
He confirmed in an Internet audio message posted in May that he had been "lightly" wounded but claimed he was still fighting in Iraq. [IT IS BUT A FLESH WOUND!!!]
Several aides to Zarqawi have been arrested recently, according to Iraqi authorities, but his organisation is still active.
The group has claimed many of the bloodiest attacks in Iraq since the fall of
Saddam Hussein in April 2003.
The Iraqi government said in early March that 11 of Zarqawi's top aides were captured and seven killed and that Abu Talha was the most significant man in the network left standing.
In a diagram of the network released at the time Abu Talha is shown mustachioed with a full head of hair and appears to be in his 30s.
Also good to see that another "I'll die for my cause" terrorist is led away in handcuffs. I hope he was extremely bragadocious to his fellow terrorists about how he would take them down with him if they ever captured him.
Even more heartening is the fact that IRAQI CIVILIANS in Mosul led us to him...
ARC: St Wendeler