5 Jun 2010

US claims big hits on al Qaeda in Iraq

1:58 pm on 5 June 2010

The senior United States military commander in Iraq says most of al Qaeda's leaders in the country have been captured or killed during the past three months.

Only eight of the group's 42 chiefs in Iraq remained at large, General Ray Odierno told a Pentagon news conference.

But he cautioned against complacency, the BBC reports, saying that, even with the setbacks, al-Qaeda was trying to regroup and would remain a problem for years.

General Odierno adds that the number of attacks and casualty figures suffered by US troops have fallen to their lowest level since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

The general, who is leaving his post later this year, says the successes have been rooted in the infiltration of a network in Mosul by US and Iraqi forces earlier this year.