Iraqi security forces have detained a man suspected of being the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq after a captured associate led them to him sleeping in a house in the northern city of Mosul, Iraqi officials said on Friday. More than eight hours after the Iraqi announcement, the United States military said it still had no confirmation that Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian, had been seized.
A man seized by Iraqi forces is not the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, a senior United States military official said on Friday, following an announcement by several Iraqi officials that Abu Ayyub al-Masri had been captured. Security sources had already begun to cast doubt on the earlier announcement that Masri, an Egyptian also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, had been captured.
A Sunni Arab tribal leader instrumental in driving al-Qaeda out of Iraq's Anbar province was killed by a bomb on Thursday, hours before United States President George Bush endorsed limited US troop cuts in Iraq. Abdul Sattar Abu Risha died in an attack on his car near his home in Ramadi, capital of Anbar.
Iraq's Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday his government had made progress on all fronts and urged neighbouring countries to work together to stop what he called ''evil'' from destabilising the region. Senior Democrats in the United States have slammed Maliki's performance, with some even calling for his replacement.
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie was wounded and undergoing surgery after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a hall where he was attending prayers on Friday, police and security officials said. Six of Zobaie's guards were killed in the second assassination attempt on a senior member of the United States-backed government in a month.
Iraqi security forces killed dozens of al-Qaeda militants who attacked a village in western Anbar province on Wednesday, during fierce clashes that lasted much of the day, police officials said on Thursday. Sunni tribal leaders are involved in an escalating power struggle with Sunni al-Qaeda for control of Anbar.