BAGHDAD — The U.S. military said American combat units killed the chief of the Al
Qaida network in the Iraqi province of Anbar. The Al Qaida commander was
identified as Hussein Awad Al Hawawi, also known as Abu Thabet.
"The people of Iraq are beginning to reject Al Qaida and other
extremists that continue to foment this violence," Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the
No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said. "They clearly understand that [Al Qaida
in Iraq] is headed by a foreigner, an Egyptian who is linked to
international terrorism, and are tired of the false promises, intimidation,
brutality and repression that they offer."
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In a statement on June 22, the military said Al Hawawi was killed in a
battle near Karma in the Anbar province, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said Al Hawawi had been
hiding in an Al Qaida stronghold targeted in the operation.
Al Hawawi was said to have recruited suicide bombers from Arab countries
for operations in Anbar and Baghdad. Officials said Al Hawawi formed a cell
of at least 30 foreigners for suicide strikes.
In all, six Al Qaida operatives were killed in the U.S. raid, officials
said. One operative survived the assault and was hospitalized.
Officials said Al Hawawi helped train and direct foreign volunteers who
joined the Sunni insurgency from such North African states as Algeria,
Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. They said Al Hawawi fled from a prison in the
northern Iraqi city of Mosul on March 6.