Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
BAGHDAD, Iraq – On April 19 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced that tow leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq were killed in a joint effort between Iraqi and United States forces. The Iraqi Prime Minister announced on Iraqi television that Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who led the organization, were both dead. The following day, the Iraqi government announced that another al Qaeda in Iraq leader, Ahmed al-Obeidi, was killed in the northern prvoince of Nineveh.
The deaths of Masri and Baghdadi were confirmed by pictures of both men before and after their deaths. Prime Minister Maliki explained that, “the attack was carried out by ground forces which surrounded the house, and also through the use of missiles.” The Prime Minister explained that a house in Thar-Thar was destroyed and two bodies were found inside. The bodies were found in a hole in which the two men were hiding. “Security forces surrounded the hole, and when they got them out they were dead,” said Maliki.
General Ray Odierno, the top American military commander in Iraq, explained the significance of the operation. Odierno explained that, “the death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency. The US military explained that Masri had replaced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq and was “directly responsible for high profile bombings and attacks against the people of Iraq.”
On April 20 Iraqi military spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi announced that Ahmed al-Obeidi was killed in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh. General Moussawi said that Obeidi, also known as Abu Suhaib, was in charge of al Qaeda in Iraq’s operations in the northern provinces of Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Nineveh. General Odierno explained that Obeidi was the “the military emir” of the northern region of Iraq.
The BBC’s Jim Muir confirmed that the Iraqi government is now convinced that al Qaeda in Iraq is on the run. However, in the past when leaders were killed, the organization ensures that other men step in to fill their post. Muir explains that this ensures that decapitation of the organization does not lead to paralysis.
For more information, please see:
BBC – Third Iraqi Al-Qaeda Leader Killed: Iraqi Military – 20 April 2010
Al Jazeera – Al-Qaeda in Iraq Leaders “Killed” – 19 April 2010
BBC – Senior Iraqi Al-Qaeda Leaders ‘Killed’ – 19 April 2010
New York Times – Top Qaeda Leaders in Iraq Reported Killed in Raid – 19 April 2010