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Third High-Ranking Al-Qaeda Figure Killed In Iraq

Iraqi and U.S. troops killed a regional leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq today, the third top terrorist reported killed in that country in the past 24 hours.

An Iraqi military spokesman, Qassim al-Musawi, said U.S. and Iraqi joint forces launched a morning attack in the northern province of Niniveh, killing suspected insurgent leader Ahmed al-Obeidi.

Al-Musawi said the slain insurgent, known as Abu Suhaib, was in charge of Al-Qaeda in Iraq's operations in the provinces of Kirkuk, Salahuddin, and Niniveh.

On April 19, the Iraqi government said two top Al-Qaeda leaders -- Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri -- were killed in a joint operation with the U.S. forces.

Meanwhile, five family members of a local chief of an anti-Qaeda militia were gunned down today in their homes in Tarmiyah, some 45 kilometers north of Baghdad.

The wife, a daughter of 22 years old, and three boys of between 12 and 16 were shot dead and the last three were also beheaded.

The Al-Sahwa (Awakening) militia, made up by Sunni Arab tribes, switched allegiances to join American and Iraqi forces in fighting insurgents in 2006 and 2007.

compiled from agency reports