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.