Al Qaeda financier and foreign facilitator captured in Baghdad

Banner of the Islamic State of Iraq. Click to view.

Just one day after the announcement of the death of Muthanna, a senior al Qaeda facilitator of foreign fighters in the Sinjar region on the Syrian border, Multinational Forces Iraq announced the capture of a major financier in Baghdad. The yet-to-be-named al Qaeda financier was captured by the Iraqi Army in the Baghdad neighborhood of Kindi.

The al Qaeda operative used his leather business to fund attacks inside Iraq and smuggle weapons into Iraq. He “has stores in Fallujah, Syria and Jordan,” and “is suspected of traveling to foreign countries to acquire financial support for terrorist activities,” Multinational Forces Iraq reported. “He is believed to have received $100,000,000 this summer from terrorist supporters who cross the Iraq border illegally or fly into Iraq from Italy, Syria and Egypt.”

The financier funded al Qaeda cells in the Doura neighborhood of Baghdad and the cities of Tarmiyah and Baqubah. “He allegedly employs 40 to 50 extremists who help deliver and emplace improvised explosive devices to attack Iraqi and Coalition Forces,” Multinational Forces Iraq stated. “The group allegedly pays cell members $3,000 for each operation,” and supplies over $50,000 to al Qaeda operatives per month.

The financier is also linked to the 2006 destruction of the domes of the al Askaria mosque in Samarra, and the follow-up 2007 bombings of the minarets of the same mosque. He is the fourth senior al Qaeda operative linked to the al Askaria mosque attacks to be killed or captured.

In June 2006, Coalition forces arrested Yousri Fakher Mohammed Ali, “a key al-Qaida suspect” in the February 2006 bombing of the Golden Dome. Ali, aka Abu Qudama, a Tunisian, was wounded during a raid in Baqubah, where 15 other foreign fighters were killed in the confrontation.

In September 2006, Coalition and Iraq forces captured Hamed Jumaa Farid al Saeedi (also known as Abu Humam, Abu Rana), who Iraqi officials are describing as the number 2 al Qaeda leader in Iraq. Saeedi ordered the attack on the al Askaria mosque. Saeedi was a member of the Mujahideen Shura Council the leader of the Omar Brigade, al Qaeda’s unit assigned to attack Shia and stir up a sectarian war. His arrest and subsequent interrogation led to the capture or death of 11 other top al Qaeda in Iraq figures and nine lower-level members.

In August 2007, US soldiers killed Haitham Sabah Shaker Mohammed al Badri, al Qaeda’s emir in Salahadin province. Al Badri was the ringleader of the 2006 al Askaria attack and was in charge of an al Qaeda assault unit consisting of two Iraqis, four Saudis, and Abu Qudama, the Tunisian.

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Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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