Close confidant to bin Laden, al-Zawahiri headed for Guantanamo Bay
MSNBC and NBC News – Updated: 1:12 p.m. PT April 27, 2007
WASHINGTON – A senior al-Qaida commander who was handed over to U.S. custody this week is believed to be a close confidant of Osama bin Laden who has provided U.S. intelligence officials with hundreds of important leads into al-Qaida’s operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. officials said Friday.
The man, identified as Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an Iraqi Kurd, has been implicated in several al-Qaida attempts to assassinate prominent world leaders and is believed to have launched attacks on U.S. and coalition forces from Pakistan.
Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for the Defense Department, said al-Hadi was “one of the organization’s key paramilitary commanders in Afghanistan” when he was detained. Intelligence officials told NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski on condition of anonymity that he was captured late last year while on his way to Iraq, where he was to assume a leading role in al-Qaida’s operations in the country.