Al-Qaeda in Iraq has suffered what could be its biggest blow, the US military said yesterday, after two of the Islamist militant group's top commanders were killed.
Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir, also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri and believed to have been the group's military leader, was killed on Sunday. Another commander, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, also died in a joint operation by the US army and Iraqi security forces near the town of Tikrit, Financial Times reports.
Al-Masri, or "The Egyptian," was understood to be the head of al-Qaida in Iraq. Al-Baghdadi was described as head of the Islamic State of Iraq, a local militant movement closely identified with al-Qaida. The prime minister said: "Their leaders are falling. Al-Qaida has become too weak to represent a danger to Iraq, but we have to be more careful and aware to eliminate them completely."
Al-Baghdadi had been reported killed and captured on numerous occasions, leading some to believe that "The Man from Baghdad" was just a cover name used by the group, Vancouver Sun informs.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.