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British Forces In Iraq Kill Al-Qaida Terrorist, US Extends Combat Tours

British forces in Iraq say they have killed a leading al-Qaida terrorist who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan last year.

British soldiers in the southern city of Basra say they killed Omar al-Farouq early Monday during a raid.

U.S. officials had accused the Kuwaiti citizen of leading the al-Qaida network in Southeast Asia. He was arrested by Indonesian police in June 2002 and then turned over to the U.S.

In other news, the U.S. military announced it has extended the combat tours of at least 3,500 American soldiers in Iraq.

Officials said the troops are serving in the area around Ramadi, west of Baghdad. U.S. and Iraqi forces have been sweeping Ramadi to root out insurgents there.

The U.S. military announced today that an American soldier was killed by enemy fire near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

More than 2,600 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion more than three years ago.

In Baghdad Monday, Iraqi lawmakers, hoping to end political deadlock, set up a committee to review and amend the constitution, a move sought by minority Sunni Arabs.

On Tuesday, Iraqi lawmakers are to start work on the second part of a compromise deal, a Shi'ite proposal to establish federal regions along ethnic and sectarian lines.

Even if it passes, legislators have agreed the law will not go into effect for 18 months.

Shi'ites want to create an autonomous region in southern Iraq, a move opposed by Sunni Arabs who fear the country's oil reserves will go to Shiites in the south and Kurds in the north.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.