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Al-Qaeda's new Iraq chief killed: Report

Abu Ayyub al-Masri identity was first revealed by the US military in July, after the killing of his predecessor Zarqawi.

india Updated: Oct 05, 2006 15:46 IST

Al-Arabiya

television reported on Thursday that the new chief of the Al-Qaeda network in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, has been killed by US troops.

The Dubai-based channel quoted security sources as saying that US forces killed Masri and three other militants in a raid on Wednesday in Haditha, near the capital Baghdad.

There was no immediate confirmation.

An Iraqi government official had said on Sunday that Masri's "days are numbered" after showing the first video images of the wanted man, who replaced slain former Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

On Friday the new Al-Qaeda leader, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, had also broadcast an Internet audio message threatening a renewed offensive and a campaign to kidnap foreigners.

Masri's identity was first revealed by the US military in July, after the June killing of his predecessor and Al-Qaeda in Iraq founder Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Sunni Muslim extremist.

Masri was described as an Egyptian emigre with an extensive knowledge of explosives.

The footage showed a bespectacled man with an Egyptian accent explaining how to rig a car with bombs.

"I can say we are very close to Abu Ayyub al-Masri and we say to him your days are numbered," Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwaffaq al-Rubaie told a news conference on Sunday.

"Either your dead body or manacled hands will be brought before justice.