WASHINGTON – U.S. Special Forces killed Al Qaeda's (search) No. 2 terror mastermind in Iraq (search), Defense Department officials said.
FOX News has confirmed that Abu Azzam (search), who was believed to have been in charge of the financing of terrorist cells in the war-torn country, was killed during a raid in Baghdad early Monday morning Iraq time. Azzam is thought to be the top deputy to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), Iraq's most wanted terrorist.
Azzam is the latest in a series of top Zarqawi deputies that have been killed or captured by coalition forces in recent months. Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq (search) group has taken responsibility for some of the country's most horrific acts of terror including car bombings, kidnappings and beheadings of Iraqi civilians and westerners.
Earlier this month Zarqawi, a Sunni Muslim, pledged war on Iraqi Shiites in response to the U.S. and Iraqi military offensive on the town of Tal Afar near the Syrian border.
The U.S. military said it is continuing to make progress dismantling Zarqawi's operations. Officials credit much of the success to the increasing number of tips coming from Iraqi civilians. A top U.S. commander in northwestern region of the country said that 80 percent the terror network has been affected by coalition operations in his region.
FOX News' Bret Baier contributed to this report.