Iraq: Leader of Saddam Hussein's Tribe Killed in Blast

The leader of Saddam Hussein's tribal clan was killed Tuesday by a bomb that had been planted on his car, Iraqi police said.

Sheik Ali al-Nida was chief of Iraq's al-Bu Nasir tribe, a large Sunni Arab clan of about 20,000 members, including Saddam's family. He was 65.

As the head of clan, al-Nida received Saddam's body after his 2006 execution, and arranged the former dictator's funeral. In 2007, he founded a so-called Awakening Council in Saddam's home village of Ouja, partnering with U.S. forces to fight Sunni militants in the area.

Al-Nida and one of his guards died when the bomb that had been glued to the undercarriage of his car exploded as they drove through the Wadi Shishain area of Tikrit, a mostly Sunni Arab city about 80 miles north of Baghdad, an officer said.

Three other guards were seriously wounded, he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

Members of Saddam's tribe have been targeted before, but it was unclear whether it was because of their ties to the former Iraqi dictator or because of long-standing tribal rivalries.

Al-Nida's brother, Mahmoud al-Nida, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in summer 2006.

Meanwhile, Iraqi soldiers cordoned off an area of eastern Baghdad to search houses Tuesday, acting on a tip about militants hiding there, an officer said.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene described how a suspected car bomber rammed into the fence of a house, then gunmen burst out of the car running. A gunbattle erupted, with Iraqi soldiers killing at least one of men. Two others escaped, and a fourth wounded man was arrested.

Afterward, the dead man's body lay in the street, covered with a newspaper. Blood pooled nearby.

A construction crane arrived to pull out the car, which an officer said was believed to be rigged with explosives that had not detonated. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said it captured two alleged Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders along with three other men in Baghdad.

The men belong to an Al Qaeda-linked group with roots in Iraq's western Anbar province, but which currently operates in the northern belts around Baghdad, a military statement said.

During the arrests Monday, American soldiers fatally shot another man who approached a security perimeter and ignored warning shots, it said.