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U.S. Strikes Suspected Militants Near Iraq-Syria Border

(RFE/RL) 31 October 2005 -- U.S. aircraft bombed an Iraqi house near the Syrian border before dawn in what the military said was a precision strike on an Al-Qaeda leader.

A U.S. military spokesman said the bombing in the town of Karabila, close to Qaim, was meant to avoid civilian casualties.

However an unnamed police officer said the U.S. military conducted bombings in the area from midnight to dawn.

Local medical sources reported casualties.

U.S. and Iraqi officials describe Qaim and the Euphrates Valley running southeast from the Syrian border as a prime channel for foreign militants heading for Baghdad.

On 30 October in the capital Baghdad, gunmen killed an Iraqi cabinet adviser, Ghalib Abdul-Mahdi, brother of Vice President Adil
Abdul-Mahdi, while Iraq's deputy trade minister was wounded in an ambush against his motorcade.