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US says Al-Qaeda car-bomb chief killed in Iraq

US-led forces have killed an Al-Qaeda militant allegedly responsible for a string of car bombings in Iraq, including an attack which killed 202 people in Baghdad, the US military said on Wednesday.

world Updated: Sep 19, 2007 23:13 IST

US-led forces have killed an Al-Qaeda militant allegedly responsible for a string of car bombings in Iraq, including an attack which killed 202 people in Baghdad, the US military said on Wednesday.

Abu Yaqub al-Masri was shot dead on August 31 near the town of Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, a US military statement said.

"Al-Masri, who is also known as Zakkariya or Doctor, was a military advisor to Al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders in Baghdad and the surrounding belts," the statement said.,

"He provided guidance and direction for attack planning, coordination and execution," the statement said.

An Al-Qaeda emir captured earlier this year described Masri as "director of the group's 'car bomb division'," it added.

Masri, according to the statement, was one of the primary architects behind a series of simultaneous car bombings in Baghdad's sprawling Shiite slum Sadr City last November that killed 202 people, the statement said.

It said a US-led assault force had during an operation west of Tarmiyah on August 31 followed a vehicle containing "two suspected terrorists" and attempted to get the driver to stop.

"When the driver resisted capture, the assault force fired on the vehicle. Both the driver and the passenger were killed in the operation. Coalition forces later identified one of the men as Abu Yaqub al-Masri."

Masri had previously fought against coalition forces in Afghanistan and is linked to several senior leaders of Al-Qaeda, the statement said.

He was also allied to Osama bin Laden's Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and close to Iraq's Al-Qaeda chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US air strike in June 2006.

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