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American troops have captured a “senior al-Qaida leader” and five alleged terrorist associates during a raid in Mosul on Dec. 14, the military command in Baghdad said Wednesday.

The unnamed man was described as the “military emir” of the organization in Mosul — and later a neighborhood of Baghdad — and was allegedly responsible for dozens of attacks resulting in hundreds of people killed.

The man “was personally responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths, to include women and children,” a press release reads. “He housed foreign fighters to be used in suicide bombing attacks against the coalition and the Iraqi people.”

According to military officials, the raid was launched on a “known terrorist meeting place” in Mosul and the leader was captured fleeing across a street. Troops chased him down and arrested him.

“After leaving Mosul in late 2005, he became the Military Emir of Karkh, Baghdad. During that time, he coordinated vehicle borne improvised explosives device attacks and kidnap for ransom operations in Baghdad,” the release read. “He also reportedly organized an attempted shoot down of a coalition forces helicopter in an Adhamiyah neighborhood in May 2006.”

He later fled Baghdad and returned to Mosul, officials said.

Separately Wednesday, American military officials in Ramadi said a public soccer field was reopened in the embattled city west of Baghdad.

Much of the city is a virtual no-go zone, with daily battles between insurgents and American and Iraqi troops. Many of the American troops in the city are with the Germany-based 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

The Albu Diab soccer field was reopened with the help of the Anbar Rescue Council, officials said. Kids on hand were given pens, pencils, candy, soccer balls and other gifts.


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