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Middle East
Iraq releases 'al-Baghdadi tape'
Man said to be captured al-Qaeda leader tells interrogators how group is financed.
Last Modified: 18 May 2009 15:40 GMT
There are many who believe al-Baghdadi is
just a fictional character [AFP]

Iraqi authorities have released a video they says shows the interrogation of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the purported leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Major General Qasim Atta, the spokesman for Baghdad's security operations, showed at a news conference on Monday the footage of a man explaining to interrogators how al-Qaeda financed its activities in Iraq.

Police announced on April 23 that they had arrested al-Baghdadi in the Iraqi capital and several days later released photographs of a middle-aged man with dark skin and a close-cropped beard and moustache.

But the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organisation of anti-government groups, denied that he had been captured and websites carried an audio message said to be from al-Baghdadi.

The US military and some analysts have even suggested that al-Baghdadi could be a fictional character created to give the group an Iraqi face.

Interrogation

The video released on Monday appeared to show the same person as the photographs released after al-Baghdadi's reported arrest.

"I was born in 1969 and I'm from Diyala. I joined al-Qaeda in 2005 and I formed the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006," the man in the video could be heard telling his interrogators.

"I named myself Abu Omar al-Baghdadi because the name Abu Omar represents the Sunnis and al-Baghdadi is the centre of Iraq"

Video purported to show Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq 

"I named myself Abu Omar al-Baghdadi because the name Abu Omar represents the Sunnis and al-Baghdadi is the centre of Iraq and al-Husseini represents all of the people," he said.

The man then went to describe the funding of the group and claim responsibility for the bombing of a Shia shrine in Samarra in February 2006, which sparked sectarian violence that killed thousands of people across the country.

"The financing sources are external and internal. The external sources are from some associations based in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria as well as some people who bring money to Iraq," he said.

"There are also internal sources derived from theft, or stolen from the salaries of employees."

Iraqi authorities have made a number of previous claims that al-Baghdadi has been either killed or captured that have proved to be incorrect.

Source:
Agencies
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