Suspected Al Qaeda Aide Slain in Iraq Raid

From a Times Staff Writer

A prison escapee thought to be one of Al Qaeda’s former top lieutenants in Indonesia was killed Monday when British forces attempted to arrest him in southern Iraq.

Omar Faruq, whom British authorities described as “a leading terrorist connected to activities such as murders and kidnappings,” was killed in the early morning hours during a raid on his house in the city of Basra, military officials said.

Maj. Charlie Burbridge, a British military spokesman in Basra, declined to link the suspect to Al Qaeda, but Faruq had been accused of serving as Osama bin Laden’s representative in Indonesia before his arrest and detention by U.S. authorities in Afghanistan.


“He is a man of considerable significance,” Burbridge said.

Faruq, a 35-year-old Kuwaiti, was arrested by Indonesian authorities in 2002 and transferred into American custody at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, from which he escaped with three other suspects in July 2005. At the time, authorities identified the escaped Kuwaiti prisoner as Mahmoud Ahmad Mohammed.

Afterward, the escapee appeared in an Arabic-language video in which he accused U.S. authorities of mistreating him and other inmates. He said he had been held with his wrists tightly bound for long stretches and forced to watch repeated imagery of the Sept. 11 attacks, accompanied by loud music.

In the video, made available by the Washington-based SITE Institute, which monitors extremist websites, he addressed American citizens and said: “We will fight them in this country, in Iraq, everywhere, even in their own country.... We pray that Allah, blessed and almighty, will give us victory over them in their country.”

Cmdr. Jane Allen, a British military spokeswoman in Baghdad, said an operation targeting the “known terrorist” was launched by a large number of troops in predawn hours. “Unfortunately, he resisted arrest, and as a consequence, he was killed in an exchange of fire,” she said.