The US Defense Department said Friday it has custody of one of al-Qaida's most senior and most experienced operatives, an Iraqi who was attempting to return to his native country when he was captured. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the captive is Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. He was handed over to the Pentagon by the Central Intelligence Agency, Whitman said, but the spokesman would not say where or when al-Iraqi was captured or by whom. The Pentagon took custody of him at Guantanamo Bay this week, Whitman said. Whitman said the terror suspect was responsible for plotting cross-border attacks from Pakistan on US forces in Afghanistan.