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'Beginning Of The End' For Al-Qaeda In Iraq

Baghdad checkpoint on June 14 (AFP) June 15, 2006 -- Meanwhile, Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubay'i said that the death of Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi is "the beginning of the end" of the terrorist organization in Iraq.

At a televised news conference, al-Rubay'i said security forces seized important documents at al-Zarqawi's hideout providing important information about the terrorist group and its leaders.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is now being led by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, a previously little-known figure. The U.S. military said on June 16 that it believes his real name is Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian trained in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Iraqi police and soldiers, backed by coalition troops, are patrolling Baghdad on the second day of a new security clampdown intended to restore order to the capital.

As the security measures went into force, police found seven corpses with bullet wounds in different parts of Baghdad.

In the northern city of Tikrit, gunmen stormed a Sunni mosque, killing four people and wounding at least 13. Police said an unexploded bomb was also found at the mosque.

In another development, a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation arrested the chairman of the Karbala Governorate council, Akil al-Zubaydi, for allegedly supporting terrorism. Another councillor and member of the council's security committee was also arrested in the operation.

(Reuters, AFP, AP)

Iraq In Transition

Iraq In Transition

THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.