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US Military:  3 Terrorists Killed, 12 in Custody in Separate Iraq Operations

The U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces killed three terrorists Wednesday during an operation in the northern city of Kirkuk that targeted al-Qaida in Iraq network.

The military said the terrorists were killed during a firefight that broke out after coalition forces hunting for a senior al-Qaida leader surrounded a building and demanded that the occupants come out.

The military did not name the al-Qaida leader it was hunting, but said he is suspected of playing a major role in a series of assassinations and car bomb attacks.

In Baghdad, coalition forces captured a wanted individual and detained 11 others in a separate operation supporting efforts to stabilize the region.

Tuesday, the U.S. Defense Department said the U.S. military in Iraq is to control all private security firms operating in the country.

Spokesman Geoff Morrell said Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice agreed to the measure, which will be presented to the top U.S. commander in Iraq for review before a final decision is made.

The move follows the September 16th shooting incident in Baghdad, in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed by guards from the private Blackwater USA security firm. The company maintains its guards responded lawfully to an attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy they were guarding.

In Iraq, the government Tuesday approved draft legislation revoking the immunity given to foreign security contractors by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in 2004. The measure is being sent to parliament for ratification.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.