The Iraqi government presented the first image of the alleged leader of an al-Qaida front group Tuesday in a bid to prove the right suspect was in custody despite skepticism that he even exists.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called Abu Omar al-Baghdadi "the head of evil" and accused him of trying to incite a sectarian civil war and working with other insurgents who remained loyal to Saddam Hussein.
"This criminal had close relations with the former regime and maintained a sinister alliance with Saddam's followers," he said in a statement released by his office.
Authorities described al-Baghdadi's capture, which was announced last week, as a major setback for Sunni insurgents trying to intensify attacks after a relative lull. ...
The U.S. military has even said al-Baghdadi could be a fictitious character used to give an Iraqi face to an organization dominated by foreign al-Qaida fighters. Even if he does exist, it was unclear what his role is in the terror group — whether he really runs it or whether he's a figurehead.
Iraqi officials also have reported al-Baghdadi's arrest or killing before, only to later say they were wrong.
via Iraqis display photo of alleged al-Qaida leader.