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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reports: Al-Qaida Aide Shot in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- British troops in Iraq said Monday that they had killed one of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's top global lieutenants, who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan last year.

Omar Faruq was shot dead while resisting arrest Monday during a pre-dawn raid by about 200 British troops in Iraq's second biggest city, Basra, British military spokesman Major Charlie Burbridge said.

U.S. leaders have described Faruq as the top al-Qaida operative in southeast Asia. He was caught in Indonesia in 2002 and held at a high-security detention center at Bagram airbase, north of the Afghan capital Kabul, until his escape last year.

"The individual had been tracked across Iraq and was in hiding in Basra," Burbridge said, calling him a "very, very significant man."

Faruq, once believed to be the main link between bin-Laden's followers and the Jemaah Islamiah militant group blamed for bombings in Indonesia, was one of four men who escaped from Bagram in July last year.

U.S. officials said they would await results of forensic tests before confirming the death of Faruq, whom they said was an Iraqi citizen.

Also on Tuesday, Dubai's Al Arabiya television quoted a Taliban official who phoned the channel's Pakistan bureau as saying al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was alive and in good health.