A US warplane struck a suspected insurgent safe house near the Syrian border Wednesday and may have killed a senior al-Qaida in Iraq
figure who assisted in smuggling Syrian and Saudi fighters into Iraq, the US military said.
A military statement did not give details of the airstrike. But it said intelligence sources indicated that the al-Qaida member, identified only as Abu Dua, was inside the house at the time of the attack. His body has not been recovered, the military said.
Abu Dua was part of a network that included al-Qaida figures in a network of towns along the Syrian border northwest of Baghdad, the statement added.
The statement said Abu Dua set up religious courts to try Iraqis charged with supporting the Iraqi government and coalition forces.
"He would kidnap individuals or entire families, accuse them, pronounce sentence and then publicly execute them," the statement said. "Additionally, Abu Dua's al-Qaida connections extended to Syria
and Saudi Arabia
, where most of his foreign fighters were recruited."