The Iraqi Interior Ministry said that its security forces have wounded Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq, during fighting north of Baghdad, the state television reported on Friday.
A senior aide to Masri, known as Abu Abdullah al-Majmaie, was killed in the clash on Thursday night near Balad town, 80 km north of Baghdad, the Iraqia television quoted Brigadier Abdul Karim Khalaf, spokesman of the ministry, as saying.
"I can confirm that Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of the al- Qaida in Iraq terrorist organization, was wounded but managed to escape in the overnight clash with our security forces," Khalaf said.
He said that the fierce fighting erupted when security forces raided al-Qaida hideouts outside Balad.
Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, is an Egyptian Islamic Jihad militant and member of the al-Qaida in Iraq. He was a senior aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, former leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq who was killed in a U.S. airstrike on June 7, 2006.