Senior al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq killed

Monday, April 19, 2010


Abu Ayyub al-Masri
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

A joint military operation by Iraqi and American forces has killed two senior al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Malaki and US officials.

The leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, and the leader of an affiliate group, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, were killed by Iraqi military forces with assistance from US forces in a night-time attack on a safe house. According to Prime Minister Malaki, "The attack was carried out by ground forces which surrounded the house, and also through the use of missiles." The two were killed in Thar-Thar, in the province of Salaheddin, 50 miles west of Iraq's capital, Baghdad.

The American commander of military forces in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno, said in a statement that "the death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency." In a separate statement, the US said that the two Iraqis were killed in battle after "engaging the security team." Additionally, two other people were killed—an assistant of al-Masri and the son of al-Baghdadi.

Al-Masri, along with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in 2006, formed the first al-Qaeda cell in Baghdad, which have been responsible for many attacks since the US invasion of the country in 2003. Al-Baghdadi was the leader of an umbrella group, the Islamic State of Iraq, a group that is partly composed of radical Sunni militant groups.