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Tuesday, 20 December 2005

image for US Forces Capture Al-Qaeda's 87th Ranking Member
Al-Hassan (pictured here in 2003) used to service Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi's Mercedes Benz

NAJRAN, SAUDI ARABIA- After a search that lasted nearly six weeks, US forces in Saudi Arabia have captured Abbas Al-Hassan, a Saudi native who is widely believed to be the 87th most powerful figure in the Al-Qaeda terror organization. Hassan was captured early Tuesday morning hiding in the back room of a cafe just outside the city of Najran.
A special task force of US soldiers was lead by Col. Matt Mulvey, of Massachusetts. Mulvey and his crew spent week's hunting for Al-Hassan until an anonymous informant gave them the tip that would eventually lead them to the cafe.
According to General Walt Sherman, an Army spokesman in Najran, Al-Hassan was very cooperative, but somewhat confused and surprised.
"He was praying when Mulvey and his crew surrounded him," stated Sherman Tuesday afternoon. "He kept asking them why they felt the need to take him captive and he insisted that he has no ties at all to any terror organizations."
Al-Hassan, 34, was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and, with the exception of five years of studies in Jordan, has lived his entire life in Najran. He has been married for eleven years and he and his wife have three daughters.
While it is not quite clear what his role in Al-Qaeda is, Sherman insists that Al-Hassan is a very dangerous operative.
"Although details are still coming to us, I can tell you what we do know at this point," said Sherman. "Abbas Al-Hassan was employed at an auto body shop in Najran from 1998 to 2000. It is widely believed that the employees of this auto body shop, in particular, Al-Hassan, would often perform service on Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi's 1997 Mercedes-Benz S600. That's enough for us to consider him very dangerous."
Al-Zarqawi, widely considered to be Al-Qaeda's second-in-command behind Osama Bin-Laden, is still at large.
Al-Hassan is being held at an undisclosed location somewhere in Saudi Arabia. Sherman says that, while he has been easy to work with during the interrogation, he remains very confused and frightened and has not, as of yet, provided much information.
Still, Sherman remains positive.
"We do know that he is friends with Abdullah Khalid-Anan, the 79th ranking member of Al-Qaeda. They play soccer together on the weekends. Should all go as planned, we hope to have Anan in captivity by New Years."

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