BAGHDAD, Iraq - Authorities on Sunday announced the capture of al-Qaida in Iraq's No. 2 leader, accusing him of "brutal and merciless" terror operations, including the bombing of a Shiite shrine that touched off the sectarian bloodletting pushing Iraq toward civil war. Iraq's national security adviser said Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana, was arrested a few days ago as he hid in a residential building southwest of Baqouba.
This represents the 83rd second ranking Al-Qaida leader that has been either arrested or killed during the global war on terror. Experts attribute this unusually high number to A-Qaida's very flat command structure.
"Bin Laddin is at the top," explains a senior terrorist expert, "In the middle you have all these number two guys, no one really knows how many. And then you have the guys they send out to blow themselves up. We refer to them as number three guys."
The Bush administration believes the recent arrest Abu Humam represents a turning point in the war in Iraq. "This is definitely a turning point," a top aide commented. "We're definitely turning a corner after ending this no. 2 operative's reign of terror."
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