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For the second time in a week, American warplanes launched air strikes on suspected insurgent targets in and around the city of Husaybah, officials said Wednesday.

The targets were “several safe houses ... one terror leader ... and an IED cell in the act of emplacing roadside bombs,” according to a U.S. military news release.

One of the strikes was aimed at Abu Asim, reputed to be an al- Qaida in Iraq operative whose role was assisting and arming foreign fighters in Iraq. Abu Asim had recently taken over for another operative reportedly killed by U.S. air strikes in the city.

“Sources report that Asim had contacts across the border in Syria who would arrange the smuggling of foreign fighters and suicide bombers into the Husaybah and al Qaim region,” the release read.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have repeatedly said weapons, fighters and money have poured across the Syria-Iraq border to the west, and then distributed throughout Iraq.

Wednesday’s air strikes were carried out after U.S. forces acted on “multiple intelligence sources and tips from local citizens,” officials said.

The second suspected safe house was occupied by an alleged al Qaida in Iraq operative and several other insurgents, military officials said. During that strike, forward air controllers observed a group of men planting a roadside bomb; another air strike was called in.

“Sources indicated that, following the air strikes, surviving terrorists from neighboring houses retrieved the bodies of six terrorists killed during the attack. They moved them into a nearby school in an apparent attempt to hide their losses,” the military claimed.


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