Coalition forces killed a  senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq during a raid this week in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the United States military says.

A statement says the "emir"of the terror movement in Mosul, known by his nickname Abu Khalaf, was reported killed along with two other extremists in a gunbattle Tuesday.

The statement says that during the engagement, one man was killed while attempting to detonate a suicide vest he was wearing, and another attacker, a woman, was killed as she tried to detonate the same vest on the dead man.

Associates identified one of the dead as Abu Khalaf, the statement said.

It said the third extremist was a Syrian known by his nickname Abu Khalud.

According to the United States, Abu Khalaf had been a deputy of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed by a U.S. air strike in Diyala province in June 2006.

With files from the Associated Press