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US says Top Regional Militant Captured in Northern Iraq

  • VOA News

The U.S. military in Iraq says it has captured the leader of the Mosul branch of al-Qaida in Iraq.

A statement identified the militant as Muhammad Khalaf Shakar, also known as Abu Talha. U.S. General Donald Alston called the arrest a major blow to Iraq's insurgency, and said the al-Qaida ally gave up without a fight on Tuesday.

The general called the suspect one of the most important al-Qaida agents in all of Iraq. Iraqi forces said they captured a close Abu Talha associate earlier this month.

Meanwhile at least six Iraqi police were killed and more than 20 others wounded Thursday, in a suicide car bombing on Baghdad's airport road. Earlier an Iraqi judge and his driver were gunned down in the northern city of Mosul.

U.S. officials say five U.S. Marines and an American sailor were killed Wednesday near Ramadi.

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