Al-Qaida in Iraq denies US troops captured leader

An al-Qaida umbrella group in Iraq denied in a statement posted Tuesday on a militant Web site that US troops had captured the highest ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq. Last week, the US command announced the arrest of Khaled al-Mashhadani, describing him as someone who had served as the link between al-Qaida's command in Iraq and Osama bin Laden's inner circle. Al-Mashhadani, also known as Abu Shahid, was captured on July 4 in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the US military said. He is allegedly a close associate of Abu Ayub al-Masri, the Egyptian-born head of al-Qaida in Iraq.