Iraqi police arrest "senior" al-Qaeda militant outside Karbala
Iraqi security forces on Thursday said they had arrested a man suspected of being a "senior" al-Qaeda militant at the entrance to the Shiite Muslim holy city of Karbala, DPA reported.
Police in the city told the German Press Agency dpa that a tip from intelligence agencies had allowed them to catch Khaled al- Khanfisi, wanted by police on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks in Iraq.
Police said al-Khanfisi confessed "to committing crimes against civilians and soldiers and police" in the nearby city of Hilla during preliminary investigations.
Police did not specify what attacks al-Khanfisi had confessed to. A December 24 bomb blast in Hilla killed at least 14 Shiite pilgrims, including Babil provincial council member Nama Hamza al-Bakr, and injured 70 more during the Shiite holiday of Ashoura.
Security has been particularly tight ahead in Karbala as police prepare for an annual pilgrimage over the next few days. The city is the site of several important Shiite shrines.