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Top Insurgent Leader Captured In Iraq

Muhammad al-Ubaydi (file photo) (epa) April 6, 2006 -- The U.S. military announced today that Iraqi forces have captured the prime suspect in last year's kidnapping of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

The military says Muhammad al-Ubaydi, also known as Abu Ayman, was arrested in southern Baghdad on March 7. A statement says the announcement was delayed pending DNA tests to verify his identity.

Abu Ayman is believed to have led the Secret Islamic Army in Babil province south of Baghdad. He is said to have close ties to Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, the head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Abu Ayman was described as an aide to the Iraqi chief of staff of intelligence during Saddam Hussein's regime.

The U.S. military statement says Abu Ayman was behind the February 2005 abduction of Sgrena, who worked for a newspaper in Italy. She was freed a month later.

(AP, Reuters)

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