security forces have killed the two top leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq, the
militant group responsible for a string of bloody recent bombings throughout
Raymond Odierno, the top American general in Iraq, said the killings of Abu
Ayyub al-Masri, al Qaeda in Iraq’s operational leader, and Abu Omar
al-Baghdadi, the group’s spiritual leader, were “potentially the most
significant blow to al Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency.”
a written release, the U.S. military said the two militants were killed in
Iraqi-led joint operations against an AQI safe house near Tikrit. The militants
were “killed after engaging the security team,” the American release
assistant to Mr. al-Masri was killed, along with one of Mr. al-Baghdadi’s sons.
statement said American forces played a supporting role in the Iraqi effort to
find, track, and kill the militants.
deaths are the biggest blow in several years to al Qaeda’s Iraq operations and
represent a significant victory for Iraq’s security forces.
it’s far from clear that the deaths will incapacitate al Qaeda in Iraq or
prevent the group from mounting additional attacks.
June 2006, American special operations forces killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Mr.
al-Masri’s predecessor as head of AQI.
decreased for a brief time, but the group was able to mount large-scale attacks
almost immediately and more Iraqis were killed in terror bombings after his
death than had been killed before it.