BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraqi police have arrested a key aide to the leader of the Mosul branch of the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group, the government said Sunday.
Mutlaq Mahmoud Mutlaq Abdullah, also known as Abu Raad, was arrested Saturday. He is considered a key facilitator and financier for a militant identified by the alias Abu Talha, the purported head of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror cell in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.
A statement released by Iraq's Cabinet said Abu Raad "coordinates terrorist activities" and "supervises the funds available to the terrorist cell led by Abu Talha."
"(Abu Raad) arranges meetings between Abu Talha and some terrorists and is familiar with his plans and crimes committed in Mosul, such as murder, rape and kidnappings," said the statement.
Maj. Gen. Khalil Ahmed al-Obeidi, commander of the Iraqi army in Mosul plus several other northern Iraqi areas, confirmed the arrest of Abu Raad, but provided no further details.
The government statement said Abu Raad supervised the collection of money obtained through donations and criminal activities, such as blackmail, abduction and theft.
Al-Obeidi said Abu Talha, whose real name is Mohammed Khalaf Shkarah al-Hamadani, was a former member of Saddam Hussein's onceruling Baath Party and a warrant officer in the former Iraqi army.
News of Abu Raad's arrests comes one day after Iraqi police announced the capture of another prominent Mosul-based militant, Mahdi Moussa al-Jabouri, also known as Mullah Mahdi, the purported head of the Mosul cell of feared terror group Ansar al-Sunnah Army.
Ansar al-Sunnah is linked to al-Qaida in Iraq and has claimed responsibility for multiple bombings, kidnappings and beheadings.
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