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Militant Blamed for Samarra Mosque Bombings Killed


The U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces have killed the man behind bombings at a revered Shi'ite mosque that triggered sectarian violence across Iraq.

Military authorities say Haitham al-Badri, described as the al-Qaida in Iraq emir of Salaheddin province, was killed by a U.S. air strike Thursday outside the northern city of Samarra.

He is blamed for two attacks on the city's Askariya Mosque. The first bombing in February of last year destroyed the mosque's golden dome and is blamed for triggering sectarian violence that killed thousands.

He is also believed responsible for the attack this June that destroyed the shrine's two minarets.

In other developments, Iraqi police say mortar attacks killed at least 11 civilians in Baghdad Sunday.

The U.S. military reports the deaths of four soldiers in combat operations in or near Baghdad the past two days.

It says two soldiers were killed Sunday and two died on Saturday.

The U.S. military also says troops killed four terrorists and detained seven during operations in other parts of Iraq Sunday.

And in Baghdad, a top aide to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr escaped an assassination attempt.

Envoys from Iran and the United States are scheduled to meet in Baghdad Monday to discuss details regarding a committee on security issues in Iraq.

The meeting would mark the third time U.S. and Iranian officials have met in recent months to discuss Iraq.