English Speaking Al Sadr Spokesman Arrested For Killing 5 US Soldiers
** The arrested US Soldier Killer was Al-Sadr’s spokesperson! **
One of the brothers arrested for killing the 5 US soldiers, Qais Khazali, has served as a spokesman for the rebel Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, CNN reported!
Qais Khazali, seen in a 2004 photo, has been a spokesman for radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the past. (CNN)
The English-speaking terrorists kidnapped and murdered 5 US soldiers near Karbala in January.
The attackers who are connected to Al-Sadr, “traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles (the type used by U.S. government convoys), had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English.”
The U.S. military said Thursday it had captured the leaders of a Shiite insurgent network responsible for one of the boldest and most sophisticated attacks on American troops since the Iraq conflict began four years ago.
The statement said the arrests took place over the past three days in the cities of Basra and Hillah south of Baghdad. The military said the network was led by Qais Khazaali and his brother Laith Khazaali. Several other members of the network also were captured.
The network was “directly connected” to the killing in January of five American soldiers in the holy city of Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, the military said.
In the Jan. 20 attack, gunmen speaking English, wearing U.S. military uniforms and carrying American weapons abducted four U.S. soldiers at Karbala’s provincial headquarters and later shot them to death. A fifth soldier was killed during the attack.
The U.S. military, in a statement issued Jan. 26, confirmed that three of the soldiers were dead and one was mortally wounded with a gunshot to the head when they were found in a neighboring province, about 25 miles from the compound where they were captured. A fifth soldier was killed in the initial attack on the compound.
According to the Mehdi Army (CNN), Khazali, the Al-Sadr spokesman from Sadr City, may have split with Al-Sadr and have his own militia:
Two Mehdi Army commanders told The Associated Press that Khazali had split with al-Sadr and leads 3,000 fighters of his own with financing from Iran.
Khazali has not been seen in public since late 2004, the AP reported.
U.S. officials have been tight-lipped about the arrests. The military has not disclosed evidence linking the Khazali network to the Karbala attack, but one official called it “significant.”
A source close to the al-Sadr movement said the arrests occurred Wednesday.
Vicki has more background on the attacks.
Update: Check this out…
Could these be the US weapons used in the attack to kill the Americans last month?
Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr display their ‘captured US arms’.
Mahdi Army seizes US weapons – (Al Jazeera Video) Tuesday 11 May 2004.