By Jim Kouri
A commander of the al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist group was mortally wounded during a police operation in northern Iraq on Saturday. In addition, three people were killed in separate gunfire and bomb attacks during the day, the Iraqi police said in a press statement.
Majeed Hassan Ali, also known as Abu Ayman, a local leader of self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in the city of Mosul, was killed in an attack by the Iraqi police on a suspected safe house of the terrorists in Rufaila area in the city, the statement said.
Based on intelligence reports, the troops surrounded the safe house and clashed with the terrorists during the raid, which also resulted in arresting 19 al-Qaeda fighters, two of them Palestinians, the statement said.
The troops also seized roadside bombs, sticky bombs and dozens of bags of explosives, as well as a cache of weapons and ammunition, the statement added.
The city of Mosul has long been a stronghold for insurgent groups, including al-Qaeda members, despite several military offensives by U.S. and Iraqi forces during the past years.
In a separate incident, gunmen opened fire with assault rifles on the house of a police officer in the town of Hawija, north of Baghdad, killing a passer-by and wounding the officer, a local police source reported.
In addition, a shepherd was killed in a land mine explosion in Shwan area in northern the city of Kirkuk, the police source said.
Also on Saturday, a local Awakening Council group member was killed when a roadside bomb went off near a checkpoint manned by his group members in the town of Baiji, the source added.
The Awakening Council group, or Sahwa in Arabic, consists of armed groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups which fought al-Qaeda militants in the Sunni Arab areas after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Insurgents continue daily attacks including suicide bombings across Iraq since the U.S. troops pulled out of the country last month.