Top US official: Senior al-Qaida member arrested

US forces have arrested a senior al-Qaida terrorist and personal associate of the group's new leader, the top US military spokesman in Iraq said Thursday. The man, who was not identified, was arrested Tuesday and was the leader of assassination, kidnapping and bomb making cells in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell said. He also played a key role in al-Qaida's activities in the Anbar city of Fallujah before it was attacked by US troops in November 2004, Caldwell added. According to Caldwell he was a "personal associate" of Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, who took over al-Qaida in Iraq from Jordanian-born terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi after he was killed in an American airstrike north of Baghdad on June 7.