Top militant held

BAGHDAD - A senior leader of al-Qaeda operating in executed dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq and accused of killing 20 policemen has been arrested.

BAGHDAD - A senior leader of al-Qaeda operating in executed dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq and accused of killing 20 policemen has been arrested.

A police officer said Hussein al-Ajeeli, also known as Abu al-Ajeeli, was arrested in a raid on Wednesday in the village of Albo Ajeel.

"The police raided his house after local villagers supplied information about him," the officer said on condition of anonymity.

Ajeeli is accused of plotting a suicide attack against a police building in Tikrit two months ago that killed 17 policemen, the officer said.

Ajeeli is also also suspected of kidnapping and killing three other policemen in Al-Dour town near Tikrit, he said.

US commanders claim al-Qaeda militants have fled to northern parts of the country in recent months to escape military assaults launched in the central and western parts of Iraq. - Sapa-AFP

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