34 al Qaeda killed in day’s fighting during Phantom Phoenix

General Mustaffa in his office in Arab Jabour. Photo by Bill Roggio. Click to view.

Coalition and Iraqi security forces were active on Thursday and Friday in fighting as part of Operation Phantom Phoenix. Two senior al Qaeda in Iraq operatives were killed along with 32 foot soldiers during fighting in Arab Jabour, Miqdadiyah, and the Samarra region. Another 34 al Qaeda fighters were reported captured.

Operation Marne Thunderbolt and Arab Jabour

The most high-profile fighting occurred in the Arab Jabour region, which sits just southeast of Baghdad. US and Iraqi forces are conducting Operation Marne Thunderbolt, a subordinate operation to Phantom Phoenix. The US Air Force, in conjunction with 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division launched a massive airstrike on al Qaeda positions in the region.

“Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers and four F-16 fighters employed approximately four dozen precision-guided, direct-attack munitions or J-DAMs on targets in the Arab Jabour area south of Baghdad,” said Colonel Terry Ferrell, the brigade commander. “More than 50 targets were identified by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team in order to destroy known improvised explosive device and cache locations.” Forty-seven of the targets were hit, while three strikes were deferred to minimalist civilian casualties.

While the US military did not have information on al Qaeda casualties, General Mustafa al Jabouri, the commander of the Arab Jabour Concerned Local Citizens force, said a senior al Qaeda leader was killed along with 20 other fighters. “Our information confirmed that Walid Khudair, also known as al Jahash, leader of al-Qaeda in the southern belts of Baghdad, was killed in the air strikes,” Jabouri told AFP. “Twenty other terrorists were also killed.”

Jabouri, who goes by the name General Mustafa, established the Arab Jabour Concerned Local Citizens over this past summer in opposition to al Qaeda’s terror campaign in the region. “They killed our sons, ruined our infrastructure, displaced families, used sectarian violence against the people,” Jabouri said in an interview with The Long War Journal in September 2007. “They killed our electricians, our engineers, the technicians that run our water pumps and [water filtration] plant.”

Jabouri provided a group of local tribesmen to serve as “bird dogs,” or local intelligence agents for US forces. These Iraqi bird dogs likely provided the intelligence used in Friday’s air strikes.

Operation Iron Harvest and Diyala

Further north, Iraqi and Coalition forces are pressing the attack in Miqdadiyah as part of Operation Iron Harvest. Miqdadiyah is a known al Qaeda haven.

US and Iraqi forces liberated six villages from al Qaeda control in the region near Miqdadiyah, Iraqi Army Major General Abdul Karim al Rubaie, the director of operations in central Diyala province told AFP.

“The villages have been under the control of al-Qaeda for a long time,” Rubaie. “We have taken them back and al-Qaeda has been chased out.” Ten al Qaeda were reported killed and 20 captured during the operation.

Samarra, Tikrit, Mosul

US and Iraqi forces continue to conduct raids in the north, where al Qaeda has been denied the chance to re-establish new safe havens in the region. Iraqi security forces captured a senior al Qaeda operative in Samarra, where al Qaeda is thought to have built up command and media operations.

Iraqi security forces killed Abu Qataadah al Saudi, “who was one of the most prominent leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq,” KUNA reported. Iraqi security forces also captured “the mastermind” of the second bombing that destroyed the twin minarets of Samarra’s Al Askaria mosque.

Coalition special forces teams also conducted raids in Samarra, Tikrit, and Mosul. Two terrorists wearing suicide vests were killed in an airstrike north of Samarra. A media cell was dismantled in Tikrit, resulting in two captured, while nine al Qaeda suspects were detained during a raid against a senior leader in Mosul.

Video of airstrikes in Arab Jabour:

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • Neo says:

    Last June I remember reading about a place along the Tigris in south Arab Jabour where Al Qaeda was hold up in a confined area where the Tigris river looped. The loop was on the north side of the river ( 33 02 29 N, 44 39 50 E) just one loop of the river southeast of the old Salman Pak biological warfare facility. I can’t remember if the article was one of Bill’s, Joshua Partlow’s, or another article. Al Qaeda controlled the access points into the area and set up IED’s along the roads and paths into the area. There was a small farming village at the center of the area that Al Qaeda pretty much held. At the time it sounded if there really weren’t enough resources to overtake the area and the soldiers there seemed to have a rough time getting into the area without taking some serious casualties. At the time MNF forces were controlling access points north of this area but weren’t making any sort of push to take it. Today’s account by Col Ferrell reminded me of that article, and I was wondering if today’s USAF bombing was in this same enclave where Al Qaeda has been hold up all this time. I never did hear about this particular enclave being taken down and it didn’t sound at the time that they really had the resources on hand to take it on.

  • Turner says:

    If you go through the video, it will end offering up other videos that can be watched. The one where justice is brought to Zarqawi is worth watching.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    I think you interviewed General Mustafa in Sept 2007.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    SD, I thought that was pretty clear, I mentioned the interview, quoted him, and linked back to it. I also took that photo of him.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    I think I was referencing a possible typo
    ,” Jabouri said in an interview with The Long War Journal in September 2006. ”

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Typo indeed, SD, it was 2007. Thanks for the heads up.
    Neo, I believe you are referring to his entry from September:

  • DoubleTapper says:

    Thanks for posting this.

  • MattR says:

    It seems this is the first time in a long time an operation started with such a large bombing campaign. Is this true? If so, it implies a lot of information was had about where targets were. Any insights on this?

  • Neo says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the area that I am referencing isn’t Arab Jabour, but further south. Unless I misunderstand, Arab Jabour refers to an area Southeast of Baghdad along the east bank of the Tigis, just to the north of Salman Pak. I also conclude that the Air Force bombings were also in the area to the North of Salman Pak.
    I do distinctly remember though, an account of an engagement south of Salman Pak. It seems that this wasn’t your work, but probably from a Milblog I have since lost track of. Anyhow, there are two loops in the Tigris south of Salman Pak that are still in Diyala Province before you get to Wasit province. The first narrow loop has an old chemical weapons facility on it that is reputed to have once been used for terrorist training. I refer to a broader second loop further south that is the last Sunni area before Wasit province and is further isolated by irrigation canals to the north and east. The article I remember described the area much the way I did in the earlier comment.
    I was a little surprised that Al Qaeda had set up that far to the south, so maybe I just got the location wrong. Have you run across any information about the area I describe? As I said, this is pretty far south, and perhaps a Shiite area, if I am mistaken.

  • sfcmac says:

    I love referencing your Journal. It’s the most informative, precise, and accurate ‘unclassified’ order of battle data base I’ve ever seen. I was an Intel Analyst in counter-terrorism, and your site is definitely an asset.
    SFC Cheryl McElroy

  • The Foxhole says:

    More Islamofascist scum erradicated in combined Operations

    From Bill Roggio’s excellent website “The Long war Journal”:
    Operation Phantom Phoenix:
    Despite the recent success in reducing the violence in Iraq, the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq and the Shia extremist terror groups is not over. …


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram