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Briefs (right)

British Troops in Iraq
Kill Senior Qaida Figure

By Sabrina Tavernise


A senior al-Qaida operative who engineered a brazen escape from a high-security American prison in Afghanistan last year was killed on Monday in a pre-dawn raid by British soldiers in a quiet, wealthy neighborhood in southern Iraq, an American official and an official in Basra said.

About 250 soldiers wearing night-vision goggles and carrying special rifles stormed a house in the Junainah neighborhood of Basra, intending to capture the operative, whom the spokesman for the British military in Iraq identified as Omar al-Faruq, an Iraqi. They were fired upon as they entered, and shot back, killing Faruq.

The British military spokesman, Maj. Charles Burbridge, said Faruq was “a terrorist of considerable significance,” who had been hiding in Basra, but declined to say whether he was the same man who had escaped from the American military detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, in July 2005. An American official in Washington and an official in Basra, neither of whom was authorized to speak publicly on the subject, said Faruq was the same man.