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US Raid in Syria Said to Hit Top Al-Qaida Smuggler


A U.S. official says a U.S helicopter attack in Syria is believed to have killed the head of a network that had been smuggling weapons and foreign fighters into Iraq.

U.S. news agencies quote the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying the man targeted was Abu Ghadiya.

The U.S. Treasury Department previously identified Ghadiya as a major terrorist financier to al-Qaida in Iraq.

Syria is accusing the accusing the United States of "terrorist aggression" for the raid which Damascus says killed eight civilians

The White House, U.S. State Department, and Pentagon have refused all comment on the incident. But State Department spokesman Sean McCormack acknowledged Monday that Syria lodged an official protest.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said in London the raid happened during daylight Sunday. He said that shows it was not a mistake, but "blunt determination."

He warned if another raid happens, Syria will defend its territory.

Syria's state news agency, SANA, says thousands of people attended the funerals Monday of those killed in the raid.

State media earlier reported a married couple, a man and his four sons, and another man were killed. Journalists in Syria report seeing seven people buried.

Syria says U.S. soldiers emerged from four helicopters and stormed a civilian building under construction in the town of Abu Kamal, eight kilometers from the Iraqi border. State media say the helicopters flew back to Iraq after the attack.

Iraq's government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said the raid happened in an area used by insurgents plotting attacks on Iraqi soil.

Russia and the Arab League have condemned the raid.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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