American forces kill al-Qaida bomb plotter


POSTED: Friday, November 21, 2008

U.S. forces killed an al-Qaida leader in Iraq said to be the mastermind of a suicide attack that killed three Kaneohe Marines, and other deadly attacks over several years, the military said yesterday.

U.S. forces acting on a tip carried out a raid Nov. 11 in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood and killed Hajji Hammadi and another armed insurgent, according to a Defense Department statement. Five other suspected insurgents were detained.

Hammadi became al-Qaida's emir in a volatile area west of Baghdad in 2004 and had links to slain al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his successor, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.

Hammadi is thought responsible for a June 26 suicide bombing against a meeting of pro-government Sunni sheiks in Karmah, west of Baghdad, the military said. The commander of about 1,000 Kaneohe Marines, and two other Marines, along with two interpreters and 20 Iraqis, died in the attack.

Lt. Col. Max Galeai, 42, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, was killed in the bombing, along with Capt. Philip J. Dykeman, 38, of Brockport, N.Y.; and Cpl. Marcus W. Preudhomme, 23, of North Miami Beach, Fla.

The military says Hammadi escorted the bomber disguised as an Iraqi policeman to the attack location and then videotaped the explosion and its aftermath.

Hammadi was also accused in the abduction and killing of Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin.

His son, Keith Maupin, said he got a call Wednesday from the Pentagon.

“;They told me they killed him on Veterans Day,”; Maupin said of Hammadi. “;Ain't that appropriate.”;