Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Hussain Kamal told CNN that al-Zarqawi was arrested and released at some point last year. He gave no details.
The United States has not officially commented on Kamal's statement.
Al-Zarqawi is the most wanted man in Iraq. Iraqi and U.S. officials have been offering a $25 million bounty for information leading to his capture.
Al-Zarqawi, a 39-year-old Jordanian, is allegedly the mastermind of numerous bombings, armed attacks, hostage murders, and other acts of violence in Iraq. He has been sentenced to death in Jordan for the 2002 murder of a U.S. diplomat.
Coalition Images Of The Voting
The Multinational Force in Iraq on December 15, 2005, released official images of the voting in the legislative elections. To view a slideshow of their photographs, click on the image.
To see RFE/RL's special webpage about the election, click here.