US army says No. 2 leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq dead
The U.S. military said the No. 2 leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been killed during an operation in the northern city of Mosul. The military has identified the leader as a Moroccan known as Abu Qaswarah or Abu Sara.
Wednesday's statement said he became the senior al-Qaeda in Iraq emir of northern Iraq in June 2007 and had ties to senior al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It added "he was al-Qaeda in Iraq's second-in-command" behind Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who also is known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi army has unearthed a mass grave near the Shiite holy city of Karbala believed to contain the bodies of 22 shepherds kidnapped last year by Al-Qaeda, security and hospital sources said on Wednesday. "The military was conducting a search operation in the area when they found the mass grave containing 22 corpses in an area near Karbala," a security official told AFP.
The mass grave was found on the northern outskirts of Karbala, 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of the Iraqi capital.
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