Contrary to widespread media reports, BBC says May 9 that the man detained in Mosul is not in fact Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. An earlier statement from the Iraqi defense ministry said that al-Masri had been captured. But an US military spokeswoman, Peggy Kageleiry, said confusion had arisen because a man with a similar name had been detained.
Al-Masri is believed to have helped Abu Musab al-Zarqawi form the first al-Qaeda cell in Baghdad. In April 2007, he was named “minister of war” in the 10-man cabinet of the “Islamic State of Iraq,” an umbrella organization of Sunni militant groups.