High-ranking al Qaeda in Iraq figure arrested, officials say

Story highlights

  • State TV names the man arrested, but 3 senior officials say it was someone else
  • In November, at least 166 Iraqis were killed in violence, the government says
  • The deaths included civilians, police and soldiers

A high-ranking leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was arrested Sunday, officials said.

There was conflicting information as to whether it was the head of the group or another senior leader.

State-run al-Iraqiya TV said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was arrested by the country's National Counterterrorism Force in northern Baghdad.

But two senior security officials told CNN the man arrested was another senior leader of the group, which has been behind numerous attacks in the country.

They said they were not revealing his name for security reasons.

Baghdad's Shiite-dominated government has blamed the recent attacks across Iraq on Sunni insurgents with ties to al Qaeda.

In November at least 166 Iraqi civilians, police, and soldiers were killed in violence across the country, according to figures compiled by Iraq's Interior, Defense and Health Ministries and provided to CNN by an Interior Ministry official.

Most of the casualties were civilians, the official said.

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