Abu-Musab al-Zarkawi and his terrorists in Iraq may be moving around Iraq with impunity because they spend hours in front of the mirror making up their faces, according to intelligence services quoted by the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel.
The newspaper said the services claimed the Jordanian Islamist's group were major buyers of rich theatrical make-up, and used the cosmetics to drastically change their appearance.
The false appearance would explain why the terrorists were not being recognised, despite widespread wanted posters. The United States has posted a USD 25-million reward for his capture.
"He is like a phantom," said one intelligence operator quoted by the newspaper. Al-Zarkawi, who this year declared his loyalty to al- Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, is blamed for many of the bombings, hostage-takings and beheadings that have made Iraq unsafe.