WASHINGTON – The State Department on Thursday announced an award of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a Jordanian operative described by the CIA as a close associate of Usama bin Laden (search).
The current whereabouts of Abu Musab Zarqawi (search) are unknown, but he is thought to be running some operations in Iraq and may have been inside the country in the last few months, U.S. officials said.
Zarqawi has supporters in Jordan, some of whom have probably moved to Iraq to take part in attacks on U.S. forces, U.S. intelligence officials have said. American intelligence officials also believe it is possible he is in Iran.
Zarqawi is also tied to Ansar al-Islam (search), a Kurdish Islamic extremist group, U.S. officials said. The group was based in northern Iraq, in a region outside of Saddam Hussein's control, before the war, and was bombed by U.S. warplanes during the fighting.
A U.S. intelligence report has said Ansar al-Islam is tied to Al Qaeda (search).