UNITED NATIONS (CNN) # U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U.N. Security Council Wednesday that members of the al Qaeda terrorist network were operating freely in Iraq for more than eight months, and were using Baghdad to coordinate their activities.
Powell said the al Qaeda network was headed up by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a high-ranking Osama bin Laden lieutenant who fled to Iraq after being driven out of Afghanistan.
Zarqawi has been linked to last October’s assassination of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Jordan and the alleged ricin plot that was broken up in London last month.
He is connected with the Ansar al-Islam, a Taliban-style group that operates in Kurdish controlled Northern Iraq.
The alleged link between Iraq and al Qaeda was part of the highly anticipated presentation laying out what he said was evidence that Iraq was developing biological and chemical weapons, and was attempting to obtain nuclear weapons.