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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Troops Kill Iraqi Shrine Bomber

BAGHDAD -- U.S. troops killed the al-Qaida mastermind of bombings at a prized Shiite shrine, and at least 13 people died when mortars hit a Baghdad neighborhood, official said Sunday.

Haitham Sabah Shaker Mohammed al-Badri was the al-Qaida in Iraq emir of Salahuddin province, and the figure responsible for two bombings at the Golden Dome mosque in Samarra, the U.S. military said. He died in a U.S. operation east of Samarra on Thursday, though his death was only announced three days later.

"Al-Badri was positively identified by close associates and family members," a military statement said.

Badri had been a suspect in a June 13 attack that toppled the Askariya shrine's twin minarets, as well as in an earlier bombing, in February 2006, that destroyed the same mosque's golden dome and set in motion an unrelenting cycle of retaliatory sectarian violence.

He was one of about 80 suspects detained in raids in the Samarra area over the past week, the U.S. military said. More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and police took part in the giant operation, backed by U.S. paratroopers, it said.

Meanwhile, 13 people were killed early Sunday and 14 wounded by mortar shells in southeast Baghdad, police said.

At least three mortars hit the Mashtal area on the eastern side of the Tigris River, a police officer said on condition of anonymity out of security concerns. It was unclear whether they were aimed at the area, or whether the shells fell short.