In a statement issued today, June 17, 2005, al-Qaeda in Iraq denies media reports that aides to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have been captured inside and outside of Iraq.
According to the message, the arrest claims are fabrications and ?if they arrest a Muslim person, they say we got an aide to our Sheikh al-Zarqawi…? During this past week, the United States claimed to have captured Mohammed Khalif Shaiker, AKA Abu Talha, a purported top Zarqawi aide, and Spain arrested 16 alleged Islamic fundamentalists, 11 of which they claim to be recruiting for al-Qaeda in Iraq. Directly referencing this latter story, the message states: ?They enjoyed the [arrest] story in the West, so Spain said that it arrested a group of aides to al-Zarqawi.?
A full translation of the message is provided to our Intel Service members.