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Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi (ابو عبدالله الراشد البغدادي) (also known as Abu Hamza al-Baghdadi and Abu Omar al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi) is the nom de guerre of the person purported to be the leader (or emir) of the former Mujahideen Shura Council (also known as the "Council of Freedom Fighters," the "Consultative Council of Mujahedeen," and the "Council of Holy Warriors"), an umbrella organization composed of eight groups that oppose the United Statesmarker' military presence in Iraq, and purported to be the head of the Islamic State of Iraq.

The Interior Ministry of Iraq claimed that al-Baghdadi was captured in Baghdadmarker on March 9, 2007, but it was later said that the person in question was not al-Baghdadi. On May 3, 2007, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said that al-Baghdadi was killed by Americanmarker and Iraqi forces north of Baghdad. However, in July 2007, the U.S. military reported that al-Baghdadi never actually existed. The detainee identified as Khaled al-Mashhadani, a self-proclaimed intermediary to Osama bin Laden, claimed that al-Baghdadi was a fictional character created to give an Iraqi face to a foreign-run terror group, and that statements attributed to al-Baghdadi were actually read by an Iraqi actor.

In March 2008 the spokesman for an insurgent organization that is hostile to the Coalition, Hamas-Iraq, claimed that al-Baghdadi is a fabrication made by Al Qaeda to put a false Iraqi face to their organization.

On May 7, 2008 the Arabic-language satellite channel Al-Arabiya, citing information obtained from an Iraqi police official, identified al-Baghdadi as Hamid Dawoud al-Zawi.

On April 23, 2009, AFP reported that he was arrested by the Iraqi military, and on April 28 the Iraqi government produced photos to prove it to skeptics. The claim was denied by the Islamic State in Iraq which according to SITE Institute released an apparently genuine recording of al-Baghdadi denying the government's recent claims. However, the Iraqi government refuted this claim and insisted that the man captured was indeed Baghdadi.

See also


  1. Insurgent leader arrested in Iraq, Wimmera News. March 10, 2007.
  2. Al-Qaeda names mystery man to succeed Zarqawi. Agence France Presse. 13 June 2006.
  3. Burns, John F. and Dexter Filkins. A Jihadist Web Site Says Zarqawi's Group in Iraq Has a New Leader in Place. New York Times. 13 June 2006.
  4. Filkins, Dexter and John F. Burns. U.S. Portrayal Helps Flesh Out Zarqawi's Heir. New York Times. 16 June 2006.
  5. Iraqi ministry: Militant leader arrested in Baghdad, CNN. March 9, 2007
  6. "Captured Iraqi not al-Baghdadi", Al Jazeera, March 10, 2007.
  7. "Iraq says insurgent leader dead", CNN, May 3, 2007.
  9. MEMRI: Latest News
  10. Report: Al-Qaida in Iraq leader identified with photograph - International Herald Tribune
  11. Head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq arrested in Baghdad: army, Agence France-Presse, April 23, 2009
  12. Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq denies head captured, Reuters, 2009-05-12

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