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US 'kills key Iraq al-Qaeda man'
Abu Maysara, a Syrian, was a senior adviser to the group's leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, a statement said.

40 Qaeda leaders killed or captured in Iraq: US
US military spokesman Major General Kevin Bergner said Abu Maysara, a close aide of Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was among those killed.

"He was one of the 40 Al-Qaeda leaders killed or captured in November," Bergner told reporters, breaking the figures down into nine militants killed and 31 captured.

Iraq to be given control of Basra
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that the Iraqi province of Basra is to be handed over to Iraqi control within two weeks.

Iraq plans crackdown in violent province

BAGHDAD - Iraq's defense minister promised on Sunday to wage a new crackdown in a volatile province northeast of Baghdad where militants are trying to regroup after being routed from their urban stronghold there last summer.

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