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US Targets Syrian-based al-Qaida Cell in Iraq

Three alleged members of a Syrian-based al-Qaida cell are under arrest in Iraq, suspected of helping to sneak weapons into the northern part of the country.

The U.S. military said the men were captured Saturday in a residence near the city of Mosul during an operation with the Iraqi military.

Officials said the men are part of an al-Qaida cell led by Abu Khalaf.

Earlier this week, the U.S. government moved to freeze Khalaf's assets, charging that he was responsible for funneling weapons, cash and suicide bombers from Syria into Iraq.

U.S. President Barack Obama recently renewed sanctions against Syria, accusing the country of supporting terrorism, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and undermining U.S. and international efforts to stabilize Iraq.

Elsewhere Saturday, a young boy was killed and three family members were wounded when a mortar round crashed into their home in Baghdad's Sadr City.

Iraqi officials also said two Iraqi policemen were killed and seven others were wounded after a roadside bomb exploded near a patrol in the Western part of Baghdad.

Also Saturday, the U.S. military said an American soldier was killed during fighting in southern Iraq.

During a World Economic Forum meeting Saturday in Jordan, Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi told the Associated Press that Iraqi officials fear security will deteriorate once U.S. troops withdraw in 2011.

Still, Abdul-Mahdi said the Iraqi government was ready to take on the challenge but he also opened the possibility of a new agreement on the U.S. troop pullout.

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