The interior ministry in Iraq says it has received intelligence that the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been killed.
Abu Ayyub al-Masri, believed to be an Egyptian, has led the group since June 2006 when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a US air strike.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is blamed for or has claimed some of the bloodiest insurgent attacks in Iraq since 2003.
According to Iraqi officials, al-Masri was killed in an "internal battle" between militants.
Update: BBC Reports that the terrorists deny this report:
Insurgents in Iraq have denied a government claim that the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been killed in an "internal battle" between militants.
The Islamic State of Iraq group, which includes al-Qaeda in Iraq, said Abu Ayyub al-Masri was alive, in an online statement which cannot be verified.