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U.S. says soldier’s captor is slain

Associated Press

An Al Qaeda in Iraq leader blamed in the 2004 capture and slaying of an Army reservist has been killed in a raid here, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Acting on a tip, U.S. forces carried out the raid Nov. 11 in Baghdad’s Mansour neighborhood, killing Haji Hammadi and another armed insurgent, a military statement said.

Hammadi was accused in the capture and killing of Staff Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, 20. He was seized in an attack on his fuel convoy on April 9, 2004; he was promoted from private first class while he was missing.

Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera aired video later that month showing the native of Batavia, Ohio, wearing camouflage and a floppy desert hat, sitting on a floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.

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His father, Keith Maupin, said he got a call from the Pentagon on Wednesday telling him that Hammadi had been killed.

“They told me they killed him on Veterans Day,” Maupin said. “Ain’t that appropriate.”

He said the Army identified Hammadi in the video.

Maupin’s remains were found in March on the outskirts of Baghdad, about 12 miles from where the convoy was ambushed.

The military statement said Hammadi led a group of fighters against U.S. forces in the second battle of Fallouja in the fall of 2004.

Hammadi also was the mastermind of a June 26 suicide bombing against a meeting of government-allied Sunni tribal leaders in Karmah, west of Baghdad, the military said. The attacker was dressed as an Iraqi policeman and killed three U.S. Marines, two interpreters and more than 20 Iraqis.

“Hammadi escorted the suicide bomber to the location and videotaped the attack,” the military said.

The military said it was announcing the death after Hammadi was identified.

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