US and Iraqi forces killed 16 suspects and captured 44 others in raids across northern Iraq in the past 48 hours, the US military said Friday. In one operation Thursday south of Samarra, two suspects were killed - including a man believed to be a leader of al-Qaida in Iraq's operations in Salahuddin province, the US military said in a statement. Salahuddin province is a predominantly Sunni area north of Baghdad, and home to many former Baathists and other associates of Saddam Hussein. US ground troops fired warning shots, and then came under enemy fire, the statement said. They returned fire, igniting a vehicle believed to be carrying the al-Qaida leader. Secondary explosions erupted, indicating that the car had been filled with explosives, the military said. Two bodies were recovered at the scene - the intended target and another man believed to be one of his associates, the statement said.