Reports: Leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq killed
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Reports say that Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been killed by Sunni tribesmen in an area just north of Baghdad called Taji during a battle between tribesmen and al-Qaeda militants. Other reports say that he was killed in al-Nibayi, near a bridge where fighting was taking place.
"Preliminary reports said he was killed yesterday in Taji area in a battle involving a couple of insurgent groups, possibly some tribal people who have problems with al-Qaeda. We too have security and intelligence reports that Abu Ayyub al-Masri was killed as a result of fighting between insurgents and al Qaeda yesterday near Taji. These reports have to be confirmed," said Barham Sale, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister.
However; despite the reports, the Islamic State of Iraq denied that al-Masri was dead posting a message on a militant website saying, "The Islamic State of Iraq reassures the Ummah on the safety of Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, may God protect him, and that he is still fighting the enemies of God."
According to Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokeman, DNA tests will be performed on the alleged remains.
"We will make an official announcement when we confirm that this person is Abu Ayyub al-Masri. DNA tests should be done and we have to bring someone to identify the body. The Iraqi government will work to identify him," said al-Dabbagh.
However; the United States military has not yet confirmed the reports.
"We are in discussions with the Iraqis over how they obtained this intelligence. If we do have a body, we are going to conduct DNA tests, and that will take several days. If there is no body, that makes it harder. Obviously I hope it's true. We want to be very careful before we confirm or deny anything like that," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq.
Iraqi and U.S. military forces were not involved in the battle.
- "Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader 'killed'" — , May 1, 2007
- Mussab Al-Khairalla. "Al Qaeda in Iraq leader killed: Interior Ministry" — , May 1, 2007
- Robin Stringer. "Al-Qaeda's Iraq Head Killed in Clashes, Ministry Says" — , May 1, 2007
- Associated Press. "Iraq probes reports of al-Masri's death" — , May 1, 2007