August 4, 2008

On the Front – Al-Qaida: Cole Suspect Killed — U.S. Had $5 Million Bounty on His Head

CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Qaida confirmed Sunday the death of a top commander accused of training the suicide bombers who killed 17 American sailors on the USS Cole eight years ago.

Abu Khabab al-Masri, who had a $5 million bounty on his head from the United States, is believed to have been killed in an airstrike apparently launched by the U.S. in Pakistan last week.

An al-Qaida statement posted on the Internet said al-Masri and three other top figures were killed and warned of vengeance for their deaths. It did not say when, where or how they died but said some of their children were killed along with them.

No deal made on election bill

BAGHDAD - Despite intense U.S. pressure, Iraqi leaders failed Sunday to resolve differences over how to govern the oil-rich city of Kirkuk - a dispute that is blocking provincial elections and stoking tension in the volatile north.

Parliament had called a special session Sunday to try to reach agreement on a bill authorizing elections in all 18 Iraqi provinces - a move the United States considers essential to reconciling Iraq's rival ethnic and religious communities.

But the session never convened because intensive talks among party and legislative leaders were unable to produce agreement on a formula that would satisfy Arab, Kurdish and Turkoman demands for governing Kirkuk.

Kurds consider Kirkuk their traditional capital and want to incorporate it into their self-ruled region of the north. Arabs and Turkomen want the city to remain under central government control.

Bomb kills 12 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD - A truck bomb exploded in a Sunni area of northern Baghdad, killing 12 people, wounding 23 and raising concern about a revival of sectarian conflict.

The truck bomb exploded near a fruit stand, about 200 yards away from a heavily barricaded passport office in Baghdad's Sunni district of Azamiyah, a former insurgent stronghold. The U.S. military blamed al-Qaida in Iraq.


El Salvador to send troops: President Tony Saca says El Salvador will send its 11th contingent of troops to Iraq this month. The 280 troops will replace soldiers carrying out humanitarian and reconstruction work in Kut, a city south of Baghdad.

Doctors return: Iraq's Health Ministry has appealed to physicians who fled the country due to violence to return to their jobs because security has improved, an official said Sunday.

Originally published by From Our Press Services .

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