Top Qaeda In Iraq Aide Killed

U.S. Soldier over a flag and map of Iraq and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
AP / CBS
U.S. and Iraqi forces killed a top lieutenant of al Qaeda in Iraq, the country's most feared insurgent group, in a raid in Baghdad over the weekend, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

As CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin first reported Monday, Abdullah Abu Azzam was a top aide to the organization's leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, controlling finances for the group's foreign and Iraqi fighters and running its operations in the capital.

He was on a U.S. military list of the 29 most wanted insurgents in Iraq, issued in February. The military had put a $50,000 reward on his head.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has been one of the most prominent guerrilla groups in Iraq, carrying out devastating suicide attacks that have killed hundreds.

It was not immediately clear what effect Abu Azzam's death would have on the group. The U.S. military has claimed to have killed or captured leading al-Zarqawi aides in the past and attacks have continued unabated — though Abu Azzam appeared to be a more significant figure.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber with explosives hidden under his clothing, slipped into a police building in Baqouba, 30 miles north of Baghdad, where the Iraqis were submitting applications to join Iraq's Quick Reaction Police Force, said a police commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns about his security.

Nine Iraqis were killed and 21 wounded in the blast, said Adhid Mita'ab, an official in Baqouba General Hospital.

In other developments:

  • Army Pfc. Lynndie England, the 22-year-old reservist who appeared in photos smirking amid naked prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, was convicted Monday of taking part in abusing detainees. Her case now moves to the sentencing phase, which will be heard by the same jury of five male Army officers. It was unclear whether England would testify on her own behalf. She faces up to nine years in prison.
  • CBS News correspondent Lara Logan reports there is a secret, ruthless cleansing of the country's towns and cities as a result of an undeclared civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites. Bodies — blindfolded, bound and executed — just appear, like the rotting corpses of 36 Sunni men that turned up in a dry riverbed south of Baghdad.
  • Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.