3 killed, 2 captured as Iraqi troops raid n. village

Top al-Qaida in Iraq figure accused of organizing terror operations in western area of Mosul among those captives.

Armed Iraq Sunnis 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Armed Iraq Sunnis 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iraqi forces raided two villages north of Baghdad early Saturday, killing seven suspects and arresting four others, police said. In the first operation, Iraqi commandos stormed a village near Tal Afar, killing three wanted men and arresting three others, said Brig. Gen. Ibrahim al-Jibouri, commander of Tal Afar police. Among those captured was a top al-Qaida in Iraq figure, accused of organizing militant operations in the western area of Mosul, al-Jibouri said. Mosul - Iraq's third-largest city - has become the next likely showdown with Sunni insurgents, who have shifted to northern Iraq to escape US-led offensives in and around Baghdad. Al-Qaida in Iraq is believed to have a strong presence in Mosul. Iraqi police and military units have been dispatched to the Mosul area for an expected push into the city, and continue to conduct raids in outlying areas. Saturday's operation took place around 5 a.m. in the village of Polah Pash, about 40 kilometers northeast of Tal Afar, al-Jibouri said. Tal Afar is about 150 kilometers east of the Syrian border or 420 kilometers northwest of Baghdad. Meanwhile near Samarra, Iraqi police killed four men and captured a senior aide to an al-Qaida in Iraq leader, police said. The detainee, Safaa Mohammed Abdullah, is believed to be a top aide to the terror group's chief in central Iraq, Abu Mutasim al-Saudi. Police in Samarra spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. The Samarra area raid took place early Saturday in Jallam village, about 5 kilometers northeast of the city. The operation lasted about two hours, with Iraqi police raiding a house where Abdullah was hiding, police said. Four Arabs were killed, but their nationalities were not immediately known, police said.