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Al-Qaeda No. 2 In Iraq Reported Killed

27 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The Iraqi and U.S. military say their troops have killed the second-in-command of al-Qaida in Iraq during a joint operation in Baghdad.

U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan said today that Abu Azzam, described as the right-hand man of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, was shot in a gun battle on 25 September.

Laith Kubba, spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister's office, discussed the case at a news conference.

"It was discovered that the man who was killed is Abdallah Najim Abdallah al-Juwari, an Iraqi, also known as Abu Azzam, who is the No. 1 for Al-Qaeda in Baghdad and the second-in-command in Iraq. This is important news because Abu Azzam is responsible for carrying out indiscriminate attacks in Baghdad, especially against the Shi'ites," Kubba said.

Azzam, said to be of Palestinian origin, reportedly directed all terrorist activity in and around Baghdad.

But in an Internet posting, Al-Qaeda in Iraq says it is not sure if Azzam was killed and denies that he was al-Zarqawi's deputy.

Meanwhile in Ba'qubah, the U.S. military said a suicide bomber strapped with explosives mingled among a crowd of hundreds of police recruits and blew himself up, killing at least 10.

In Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said gunmen fired on a convoy of police vehicles taking detainees to Abu Ghurayb prison, killing two people.

(compiled from agency reports)

For the latest news and analysis on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".

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