By Joseph Giordono, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, January 20, 2007
American-backed Iraqi special forces arrested a top aide to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, another indication this week that the Iraqi government is — at least publicly — following its new commitment to security regardless of sectarian ties.
The overnight raid was conducted in eastern Baghdad and resulted in the arrest of Sheik Abdul al-Hadi Darraji, the director of Sadr’s main office in Sadr City, Iraqi officials said, adding that the man was captured around 2 a.m. Friday in a mosque.
U.S. military officials did not confirm the man’s identity, but released a statement acknowledging the capture of “a high-level illegal armed group leader.”
The statement accused the man of leading a “punishment committee” that involved kidnappings, murders and torture.
“The suspect is also reportedly involved in the assassination of numerous Iraqi Security Forces members and government officials,” the statement read. “The suspect allegedly leads various illegal armed group operations and is affiliated with illegal armed group cells targeting Iraqi civilians for sectarian attacks and violence.”