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Three of Four Key Talha Leaders Captured in Mosul

Baghdad, Iraq
-- Multi-National Forces detained a key leader of the al Qa'ida-linked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi terrorist network in Mosul on Dec. 22.

Following a thorough investigation, the individual detained was positively identified as Abdul Aziz Sa'dun Ahmed Hamduni, aka Abu Ahmed.

Abu Ahmed served as a deputy to the emir of Mosul, Abu Talha, and assumed command of terrorist operations in Mosul in Abu Talha's absence. Abu Ahmed admitted to receiving money and weapons from Abu Talha as well as coordinating and conducting terrorist attacks in Mosul.

"The capture of Abu Ahmed, and the subsequent capture of Abu Marwan on 23 December, show significant progress in the inevitable destruction of the Abu Talha-led Al-Queda-Zarqawi terrorist network in Mosul," said Brig. Gen. Erwin F. Lessel III, spokesman for Multi-National Forces-Iraq.

Security forces in Iraq have previously announced the capture of Abu Marwan, also a senior-level terrorist in the Talha organization. Security forces also recently captured another senior Talha member whose name cannot be released due to operational security reasons.

"Currently, security forces in Iraq have three of Abu Talha's four most senior leaders in custody," Lessel said.

The capture of these key members has led to additional captures throughout the Mosul-based AQ-AMZ network. More than 20 percent of Talha's key members have been captured in the past few weeks.

Abu Ahmed's capture removed one of Abu Talha's most valuable officers from the Mosul-based AQ-AMZ terrorist network. Abu Ahmed remains in detention and is providing information regarding the Talha network.

"These terrorists and Saddamists are doing all they can to stop upcoming elections," Lessel said. "They fear democracy and the day when the Iraqi people vote for a representative government. The vote by the Iraqi people will reject everything the terrorists stand for -- killing innocents, depriving people of food, electricity."

The use of car bombs and other explosive devices by Abu Ahmed and his affiliates shows disregard for the well-being and security of innocent Iraqi civilians. The Central Criminal Court of Iraq is committed to providing a fair trial to those allegedly engaging in terrorist activities. Those found guilty will be punished accordingly, and thus lose the ability to provide for the future of their families.

The IIG and Multi-National Forces are committed to bringing peace and stability to Iraq and its people. Iraq's government and security forces grow stronger and more capable every day.

Release #050108c

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