An “Iraqi intelligence team” reportedly found — and dispatched — Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
BAGHDAD, April 19 – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday that an Iraqi intelligence team had found and killed al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
Maliki said the team had also killed Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the purported leader of al Qaeda’s local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.
The claims, which followed a March 7 election that produced no clear victor but which Maliki hopes will give him a second term, were not immediately confirmed by the U.S. military, which Maliki said had conducted DNA tests on the bodies.
Pending confirmation, add al-Masri’s name to that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the late leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, who was sent straight to Broadway via laser-guided bomb in 2006.
I put “Iraqi intelligence team” in quotation marks because during the darkest days of the war, there was a tendency to sell U.S. or U.S.-led ops as Iraqi ops. It would be nice if this were really an Iraqi solo effort.