U.S. and Iraqi forces killed the second most powerful figure in the al-Qaida in Iraq

Top al-Qaida insurgent was killed in Iraq organization in a weekend raid in Baghdad, the U.S. military and Iraqi officials said Tuesday, claiming to have struck a blow to the country's most feared insurgent group.

Abdullah Abu Azzam led al-Qaida's operations in Baghdad, planning a brutal wave of suicide bombings that hit the capital since April this year, killing hundreds of people, officials said. He also controlled the finances for foreign fighters that flowed into Iraq to join the insurgency.

Abu Azzam, who an Iraqi government spokesman said was an Iraqi, was the top deputy to the group's leader, Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He was on a list of Iraq's 29 most wanted insurgents issued by the U.S. military in February and had a bounty of US$50,000 on his head. His real name is Abdullah Najim Abdullah Mohamed Al-Jawari. Abu Azzam was the No. 2 figure in al-Qaida in Iraq, according to the AP.

Elsewhere, a suicide bomber attacked Iraqis applying for jobs as policemen in a city north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing nine and wounding 21.

It was not immediately clear what effect Abu Azzam's death would have on Al-Qaida in Iraq, which has been one of the deadliest militant groups, carrying out suicide attacks targeting in particular the country's Shiite majority. The U.S. military has claimed to have killed or captured leading al-Zarqawi aides in the past and attacks have continued unabated _ though Abu Azzam appeared to be a more significant figure.

Abu Azzam was killed early Sunday when U.S. and Iraqi forces raided a high-rise apartment building in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman, told The Associated Press. "They went in to capture him, he did not surrender and he was killed in the raid," Boylan said. а.м.

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