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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Iraq carnage 'mastermind' killed
Two Iraqis survey the rubble from a suicide lorry bombing in the village of Qataniya on 19 August.
The villages were razed to the ground
An Iraqi militant who was behind last month's attacks that killed more than 400 members of the minority Yazidi community has been killed, the US says.

Abu Mohammed al-Afri, also known as Abu Jassam, was killed in an air strike on 3 September near the northern city of Mosul, US spokesman Mark Fox said.

He described the man as an associate of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Some estimates say more than 500 died in the multiple bomb attacks in two villages in north-west Sinjar region.

Another 400 people were injured by the blasts - among the deadliest in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.

No more threat

Abu Mohammed al-Afri - who was responsible for "the planning and conducting of the horrific attack" against the Yazidis on 14 August - was killed in a coalition air strike 115km (70 miles) south-west of the northern city of Mosul, Rear Admiral Mark Fox told reporters.

KEY FACTS: THE YAZIDIS
Religious sect found in northern Iraq, Syria and the Caucasus
Number about 500,000 worldwide, but largest number in northern Iraq
Doctrine is an amalgam of pagan, Sabean, Shamanistic, Manichean, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian and Islamic elements
Yazidis believe in a Supreme God, but do not believe in evil, sin, hell or the devil
Violation of divine laws can be expiated by metempsychosis, or the transferring of a soul from one body to another
Principal divine figure, Malak Taus (Peacock Angel), is the supreme angel of the seven angels who ruled the universe after it was created by God

Adm Fox described him as an associate of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

"Abu Jassam is no longer a threat to the Iraqi people," he said.

The co-ordinated bombings in the villages of Qataniya and Adnaniya - involving a fuel tanker and cars - ripped apart houses, many of which were made of no more than clay and mud.

Yazidis worship an archangel, sometimes represented by a peacock figure, believed by some Christians and Muslims to be the devil.

Tensions between the Yazidi sect and local Muslims have grown since a Yazidi girl was reportedly stoned by her community in April for converting to Islam.








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