Iraq’s Intelligence announced on Tuesday that it had detained an aide of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former al-Qaeda leader who was killed in an American raid near the city of Baquba in Diyala Province, northeast of Baghdad, in 2006.
In a statement, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said, “The Iraqi National Intelligence service, represented by the Ministry of Interior’s Federal Investigation and Intelligence Agency, was able to apprehend one of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s close associates in the al-Rafak neighborhood in Baghdad.”
The statement said “the arrest was made by a recently formed taskforce that followed him from the governorate of Diyala to Baghdad, where an ambush was set up to apprehend him.”
After preliminary interrogation, Zarqawi’s aide confessed to his affiliation with criminal mobs, and said that he had contributed to several terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda and ISIS, it added.
Al-Qaeda was active, especially in the center and north of the country, between 2005 and 2014.
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi took over the leadership after al-Zarqawi before being killed in a joint Iraqi-American operation in 2011.
Between 2005 and 2007, many areas in Diyala and other northern and western governorates came under the terrorist organization's control amid sectarian violence.
Zarqawi, who is of Jordanian origin, had established the so-called Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (the Organization of Monotheism and Jihad) in the 1990s before he pledged his allegiance to Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, in 2004.
He led training camps in Afghanistan before moving to Iraq and gaining notoriety for his role in an array of attacks during the Iraq war.