Militant linked to killing of Iraq tribal chief caught

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BAGHDAD, Sep 16 (Reuters) US forces have caught a suspected al Qaeda militant believed to be responsible for the killing last week of a key Sunni Arab tribal leader in Iraq's Anbar province, the US military said today.

Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was killed in a bomb attack on Thursday near his home in Ramadi, provincial capital of Anbar.

Abu Risha, who met US President George W Bush two weeks ago in Anbar, led the Anbar Salvation Council, an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that worked with US troops to push Sunni Islamist al Qaeda out of much of the vast desert area.

In a statement, the US military named the captured militant as Fallah Khalifa Hiyas Fayyas al-Jumayli.

It said he was caught yesterday during an operation near the town of Balad, north of Baghdad.

''Intelligence reports indicate al-Jumayli is involved in a plot to kill key leaders in the tribal awakening,'' the statement said, referring to the Anbar Salvation Council.

''He is also reportedly responsible for car bomb and suicide vest attacks in Anbar province, and is closely allied with senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders in the region.'' REUTERS SYU PM1620

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