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May 1, 2007

Unconfirmed report: Red On Red Action Takes Down Leader Of al-Qaeda In Iraq (Updated)

Topics: Iraq

al-Masri.jpgIf this report turns out to be true, another murderous thug is now looking around down in hell for his non-existent 72 virgins, and more importantly, the manner in which the Islamist leader has been killed is a very promising sign - "red on red" fighting: Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader 'killed':

The interior ministry in Iraq says it has received intelligence that the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been killed.

Abu Ayyub al-Masri, believed to be an Egyptian, has led the group since June 2006 when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a US air strike.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is blamed for or has claimed some of the bloodiest insurgent attacks in Iraq since 2003.

According to Iraqi officials, al-Masri was killed in an "internal battle" between militants.

The BBC's defence correspondent Rob Watson says if the reports are confirmed, this would be a highly significant development in terms of the manner of al-Masri's death.

US officials have long talked of friction between al-Qaeda and other Sunni insurgent groups. The reported killing would suggest there are real tensions for US and Iraqi officials to exploit, our correspondent says.

More here ...

Again, if true, a very interesting development made all the more promising given the announcement only a few days ago of the capture of senior al Qaeda member - operations chief Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, who commanded al-Qaeda paramilitary operations against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He had intended to "manage al-Qaeda affairs" in Iraq when he was detained.

Related: Profile of al-Qaeda's Leader in Iraq: Abu Ayyub al-Masri

*UPDATE* (11:30am eastern via Evan Kohlmann): Al-Qaida's "Islamic State of Iraq" has now issued a formal statement denying the death of Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who they describe as the Islamic State's "Minister of War." Elsewhere, Al-Qaida supporters have suggested that the initial report of his demise was part of a desperate scheme concocted by the Iraq government aimed at forcing al-Muhajir to surface and identify himself.

Posted by Richard at May 1, 2007 8:02 AM

targeting the head of the terrorist group as well as hope from the demise of al qaeda's leaders seems reasonable given the top-down nature of the organization and the slavery mentality of the islamic radicals

Posted by: jose at May 1, 2007 2:15 PM

However in this case it's a red on red attack, if true, and it appears that at least some, but certainly not all, Sunni insurgent groups are tiring of al-Qaeda. And that's a very good thing.

Posted by: Richard at May 1, 2007 3:28 PM

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