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BAGHDAD — A key al-Qaida in Iraq figure involved in smuggling hundreds of suicide bombers across the border from Syria has been killed in a raid in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said Thursday.

The military called the death a blow to the insurgent organization in Iraq, though acknowledged it remains very much capable of carrying out well planned, coordinated assaults with large body counts.

A series of attacks against three hotels and a police crime lab in Baghdad this week killed dozens.

Though past claims by U.S. and Iraqi officials to have captured or killed key al-Qaida operatives have proven wrong, the U.S. military said it had confirmed the identity of the body of the operative through fingerprints and other means.

The man was identified as Saad Uwayid Obeid Mijbil al-Shammari, also known as Abu Khalaf, the military said in a statement.

Abu Khalaf was killed Jan. 22 during a joint U.S.-Iraqi raid in the northern city of Mosul, some 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the Syrian border. He was killed after he broke free from his restraints and attacked his guard, the military said.

He was believed to have been moving foreign fighters across the border since 2006, the same year a U.S. airstrike killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Read more at Yahoo! News AP.

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BAGHDAD — A key al-Qaida in Iraq figure involved in smuggling hundreds of suicide bombers…