Assassins kill Iraq Qaeda leader-turned-critic

Assassins have shot dead a former senior leader of al Qaeda in Iraq who defected from the extremist network.

Baghdad: Assassins have shot dead a former
senior leader of al Qaeda in Iraq who defected from the
extremist network and sided with US forces, officials said
on Wednesday.

The murder of Mullah Nadim al-Juburi, 34, came after he
made remarks on Iraqi television of how the organisation`s
front group, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), had made key
changes to its leadership.

"We feared such an incident would occur," said Amr
Khuzaie, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki`s adviser on national
reconciliation, said.

"Mullah Nadhim al-Juburi and others took the risk of being
killed, but that will not prevent us from continuing to work
with anyone who wants to rebuild the country."

Juburi, who worked in the national reconciliation
commission, was killed on Tuesday night while driving in the
west Baghdad neighbourhood of Mansur, police in the capital

A vehicle in front of him slowed down, forcing his car
also to slow while a second vehicle pulled up alongside his
and gunmen opened fire using silenced weapons.

"He worked with us (in the national reconciliation
commission) after becoming aware of the crimes of alQaeda,"
said Khuzaie, who blamed the ISI and supporters of executed
dictator Saddam Hussein`s Baath Party for Juburi`s murder.
Juburi sparked the ire of extremists last week when he appeared on television to give details about changes to the
ISI`s operational structure in the leadership and in south
Iraq, and provided the names of those in charge.

On the Honein jihadist Internet forum, several messages on
Sunday had warned that Juburi`s "days are numbered."

Juburi was the leader of ISI`s fighters in Duluiyah, a
predominantly Sunni town 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of
Baghdad, before cutting ties with the group in May 2008 and
siding with US forces.

He then became a leader of the Sahwa, comprised of Sunni
tribal militias that turned away from al Qaeda from late 2006
onwards, helping turn the tide of Iraq`s violent insurgency.