The unnamed self-styled leader of the militant group was caught on Tuesday in Nassiriya, located 370 kilometers (225 miles) southeast of the capital Baghdad after police authorities received a tip off on his whereabouts, an Iraqi army source told the Aswat al-Iraq news agency on condition of anonymity.
He was apparently planning to carry out a large-scale terror attack in the major parking garage of the provincial capital.
‘Al-Qaeda in Iraq’ is a shadowy group that was reportedly led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was reportedly killed in June 2006.
According to US government and military officials, the group was then led by Ayyub al-Masri, who was killed along with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi — another leader of the group — in a joint Iraqi-US operation in Salahuddin province in April 2010.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been blamed for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the country since the US-led invasion of the country began in 2003.