Iraqi police captured and mistakenly released militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last year, the Iraqi deputy interior minister says.
Hussein Kamal told reporters that Zarqawi was arrested in the central Iraqi town of Falluja, but was released when nobody recognised him.
Zarqawi’s group, al-Qaeda in Iraq, has claimed responsibility for many of the biggest attacks of the insurgency.
The US military claimed to have injured Zarqawi in an assault in 2005.
A statement released by al-Qaeda appeared to confirm this but said the injuries were minor.
Mr Kamal insisted Zarqawi would eventually be captured.
“He is human, he does not have the power of God,” he told the AFP news agency.
“He got away once, he will not get away the next time. He will be tried for the crimes he committed against the Iraqi people.”
Zarqawi is the most wanted suspect in Iraq and has a US bounty of $25m on his head.