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Interior Ministry: Al-Qaida in Iraq Leader Killed


Iraq: Iraq's Interior Ministry says al-Qaida in Iraq leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, has been killed in a clash among members of his insurgent group.
A ministry spokesman (Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf) says the fighting took place today (Tuesday) in an area north of Baghdad. He says intelligence reports indicate that Masri was killed.
A U.S. military spokesman (Lt. Col Christopher Garver) says the military can not confirm the claim, but is investigating.
Masri, an Egyptian, assumed the leadership of the terrorist group after Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in June 2006.
In other news, Iraqi officials say gunmen have attacked two buses south of Baghdad, killing at least 14 passengers, including women and children.

Iraq Sidebar: British Prince: The head of the British army says he has decided that Prince Harry -- third in line for the British throne -- will be sent to Iraq.
General Richard Dannatt said Monday the decision was his, but that he could still change his mind if circumstances change. The general demanded an end to what he called the media frenzy surrounding the prince for the sake of the security of British soldiers in Iraq.
Prince Harry is a second lieutenant in the British army. He would command 11 soldiers and four tanks in Iraq. The prince has insisted that he be allowed to do his duty.
Newspaper reports say Iraqi insurgents have threatened to kidnap the prince. Some military officials say his presence could put other soldiers in harm's way.

US – Terror Report: The U.S. State Department says both the number of terrorist attacks and the number of victims of terrorism worldwide soared last year.
In its annual global survey of terrorism released Monday, the State Department said about 14-thousand terror attacks occurred in 2006, a rise of 25 percent over the previous year. More than 20-thousand people were killed, a jump of 40 percent.
The numbers, compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center, refer to deaths of non-combatants.
Senior State Department officials say about 80 percent of the terrorist attacks occurred in the Middle East and South Asia. At the same time, they add that the number of incidents in the rest of the world remained relatively flat.
The report says nearly half the attacks occurred in Iraq. Iraq also accounted for two-thirds of the total fatalities with 13-thousand people killed.
The report adds that al-Qaida operatives in East Africa -- particularly Somalia -- continued to pose the most serious threat to American and allied interests in the region.
The U.S. government has designated Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria as governments that support terrorism.

US –Terror Report: East Asia: The U.S. State Department says the Jemaah Islamiya terrorist network remains a serious threat, particularly in Indonesia and the southern Philippines. But its annual global survey on terrorism says the group's capabilities were degraded due to the killings of several high-ranking members.
The report says Burma's willingness to cooperate on counterterrorist activities remained limited, but that Rangoon has cooperated with Washington on transnational terrorist threats and efforts to stem drug trafficking and money laundering.
According to the report, North Korea has not sponsored any terrorist acts since 1987. Under the terms of a six-nation deal with Pyongyang aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program, the United States agreed to begin the process of removing North Korea from the "state-sponsor of terrorism" list.

Asia – May Day: Police in the southern Chinese territory of Macau have fired shots into the air to disperse rowdy protesters demanding better working conditions and a government crackdown on illegal laborers.
Officers opened fire today (Tuesday) after hundreds of protesters broke through police cordons lining the march route. Demonstrators and police briefly scuffled, but the protesters managed to make their way to a crowded part of the city.
Demonstrators say they are upset the Macau government has ignored the stream of illegal mainland Chinese workers that are taking jobs in the city's casinos.
Countries throughout Asia heightened security today (Tuesday) to try to control potential unrest as labor groups planned annual May Day marches.
In Indonesia, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Jakarta to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

Listen to our World News for details.

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