'Butcher of Ramadi' Turned Over to Troops in Iraq

July 7, 2008 - 8:22 PM

(1st Add: Includes comments from Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool.)

(CNSNews.com) - A top al Qaeda terrorist detained Friday by the joint Iraqi and U.S. forces in the provincial Iraqi capital of Ar Ramadi was reportedly brought by local Iraqi citizens to a military base in Ramadi.

U.S. officials said Amir Khalaf Fanus was wanted for criminal activities, including murder and kidnapping. Fanus was a member of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda unit targeting Iraq. The unit is known as "Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers."

Fanus was listed as the number three terrorist on the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (28th Infantry Division) High Value Individual list.

Known in Ramadi as "the Butcher," Fanus was reportedly well-known for his crimes against the local population, officials said.

Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool told the Cybercast News Service, "We received a call at our tips line saying that [the locals] had him and wanted to 'get rid of him,' so we said that we would take him.

"He was dropped off tightly bound and a little banged up but no worse for wear. Normally, we have citizens call in to our tips line and say 'we know where so-and-so is,' but this is the first time a captured terrorist was dropped off to us. We wanted him alive so we can question him and turn him over to the Iraqi courts," said Pool.

Fanus is reported to be the highest-ranking al Qaeda member in Iraq to be turned into Iraqi and U.S. officials by local citizens.

U.S. officials said the capture was a sign that locals were tiring with the insurgents' presence within their community. They also said that as the Dec. 15 national elections draw nearer "Iraqi and U.S. Forces are witnessing increasing signs of citizens fighting the terrorists."

The announcement was made by U.S. Marine Corps officials at Camp Blue Diamond in Ar Ramadi.

According to the Marines, an additional 1,200 Iraqi Security Force soldiers have recently been stationed in Ramadi. They said approximately 1,100 Iraqi Special Police Commandos and a mechanized Iraqi Army company completed their planned movement into the city.

"This plan has Iraqi Security Forces assuming more of the security responsibilities from the U.S. Forces," said Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool. "As in other locations, as security improves, Iraqi police will also be gradually introduced within the city."

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