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US Air Strike Kills al-Qaida in Iraq Leader in Ramadi


The U.S. military in Iraq says a coalition air strike has killed a local leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq militant group in the western town of Ramadi.

A military statement says a laser-guided bomb destroyed a car carrying Rafa Abdul Salam Hamud Al Ithawi and his driver Wednesday, killing both men.

The statement says the militant, also known as Abu Taha, was the ruler of a self-proclaimed emirate in the Ramadi area. Militants loyal to Abu Taha declared the region independent last month in a parade through central Ramadi.

U.S.-led forces have been fighting since then to take back control of the city.

The U.S. military says Abu Taha frequently harbored foreign fighters who entered Iraq illegally to carry out attacks.

In Baghdad Thursday, gunmen fired at a police checkpoint, killing three officers and wounding another.

Separately, an American soldier was killed Wednesday when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb west of Baghdad.

The soldier's death is the first reported fatality among American troops in Iraq this month. The U.S. military said 104 troops were killed in October, making it the fourth deadliest month for the U.S. since the 2003 Iraq invasion.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP

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