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Iraq Report: Bin Laden aide nabbed, Iran's involvement in Karbala attack

Baghdad and greater Iraq has seen yet another relatively quiet day. A major car bombing in Tal Afar, was reported by an unidentified police officer, however Iraqi officials and the city's mayor later denied the report. The two major stories from Iraq are the capture of Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a senior al Qaeda operative and lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, and General Petraeus' disclosure of Iranian involvement in the January attack in Karbala during yesterday's press briefing.

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured sometime in late 2006, and was transferred to Guantanamo Bay this week. Abd al-Hadi was a former Major in Saddam Hussein's Army, sat on al Qaeda's military and leadership shuras (or councils), ran al Qaeda training camps, conducted attacks against U.S forces in Afghanistan, and served as the facilitator between al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda senior command in Pakistan and the Taliban. He was captured while attempting to enter Iraq, is is purported to have been assigned to take over operational control over al Qaeda in the region.

Abd al-Hadi is also said to have worked with Saif al Adel, al Qaeda's operational planner who is currently in Iran. The two are said to have planted the seeds for al Qaeda's involvement in Iraq's insurgency.

Abd al-Hadi's capture comes as General Petraeus outlined Iranian Qods Force's involvement with the February 20 attack on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, which let to the aborted kidnapping and subsequent murder of five U.S. soldiers. Qods Force armed, trained and advised the Qazili network, which carried out the attack.

U.S. forces detained several senior leaders of the Qazili network, and captured a "22-page memorandum on a computer that detailed the planning, preparation, approval process and conduct of the operation that resulted in five of our soldiers being killed in Karbala," said Gen. Petraeus.

Gen. Petraeus also discussed the Sheibani network, "which brings explosively formed projectiles into Iraq from Iran," as well as other deadly weapons from Iran. An American military intelligence official informs us the Sheibani network is one of Qods Force's foreign networks in Iraq, just as Hezbollah is an Iranian arm in Lebanon.

In operations across Iraq, Coalition forces captured 9 members of al Qaeda's network in Salman Pak, Mosul, Baghdad and Ramadi. On April 21, a series of joint Iraqi and U.S. operations netted over 50 insurgents in the Shubayshen region just south of Baghdad. Several weapons caches, bomb factories and IEDs were discovered, as well as al Qaeda propaganda.

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