msnbc.com news services
updated 6/4/2004 11:26:21 AM ET 2004-06-04T15:26:21

Iraqi police have seized a close aide to al-Qaida supporter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the U.S. military said Friday, adding that he was cooperating with investigators.

The suspect, Umar Baziyani, is known to have ties to several extremist terrorist groups in Iraq and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of scores of innocent Iraqis, the military said. He also is wanted for activities against the U.S.-led coalition, it said.

“His capture removes one of Zarqawi’s most valuable officers from his network,” a coalition spokesman said.

Baziyani was arrested Saturday and is said to be providing information to coalition authorities.

Although the coalition statement said Baziyani was an associate of al-Zarqawi, it did not detail those alleged links. Al-Zarqawi is a Jordanian-born extremist believed to have ties to Osama bin Laden.

The CIA says al-Zarqawi was the black-clad militant who decapitated American Nicholas Berg in a videotape posted last month on an Islamic Web site. He also is believed to have been behind numerous suicide bombings in Iraq.

U.S. authorities are offering a $10 million reward for his capture.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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