Iraqi security forces captured the local leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq in eastern Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, and wounded four of his guards early on Wednesday, a provincial police said on Thursday.
"An Iraqi police force raided at dawn the house Salam Mulla Mustafa Shneidekh, leader of Qaida network in eastern Tikrit," the police source from Tikrit, the capital of Salahudin province, told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Iraqi security forces have been tipped off by residents of Albu Ajil suburb, 5 km to the east of Tikrit, the source said.
"When the police arrived the area Shneidekh and his guards fled the scene in their cars, prompting the police force to chase them and traded fire with them," the source said.
The police destroyed Shneidekh's car and wounded four of his guards and detained them, he added.
Intelligence reports said the al-Qaida network was preparing to announce the area in eastern Tikrit as part of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq, which aimed to establish a caliphate in the Sunni Arab dominated regions of Iraq, the source said.
The Qaida network claims a presence in the provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salahudin, Nineveh, and parts of Babel and Wasit, and is headed by the "Amir of the Believers" Abu Omar al- Baghdadi.