WASHINGTON – U.S. authorities have increased to $25 million the reward for information leading to the arrest of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), the Jordanian militant suspected of masterminding a wave of terror attacks in Iraq.
The increase, announced by the State Department Wednesday, more than doubles the previous offering of $10 million that was set in February and puts al-Zarqawi on par with Saddam Hussein, now jailed. Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden (search) has a $50 million bounty on his head.
Al-Zarqawi's Al Qaeda-linked terror network has claimed responsibility for the attacks on police and security forces in Iraq last week that left 100 dead. He is also believed to be behind the beheading of two hostages, an American and a South Korean. Another recent statement attributed to him included a threat to kill Iraq's prime minister, Iyad Allawi (search).
The U.S. military launched an airstrike early Thursday in Fallujah against a suspected hide-out of al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmad Fadhil al-Khalayleh.
The State Department wants anyone with information on al-Zarqawi's whereabouts to contact any U.S. military commander or official in Iraq, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad or any U.S. embassy, mission or consulate around the world, or to e-mail mailrewardsforjustice.net or call 1-800-877-3927.