Seven al Qaeda killed in Miqdadiyah

The top 10 al Qaeda in Iraq leaders killed or captured in December, including Diyala’s media emir. Click to view.

The region north of the city of Miqdadiyah remains al Qaeda in Iraq-controlled territory. Raids against al Qaeda in Iraq occur in the Miqdadiyah region on a daily basis, while al Qaeda continues to launch attacks into Baqubah, the provincial capital of Diyala on an almost daily basis.

The latest Coalition raid in Miqdadiyah occurred on Jan. 3, resulting in seven al Qaeda fighters killed. Coalition special forces, part of Task Force 88, the hunter-killer teams assigned to hunt al Qaeda’s networks, “targeted associates of an al Qaeda in Iraq leader allegedly responsible for coordinating and directing a large terrorist group, and carrying out executions in the Diyala River Valley region.” Coalition forces called in an airstrike on a safe house, killing two al Qaeda operatives. Five additional al Qaeda terrorists were killed in a follow-on raid.

In other operations on Jan. 3, Iraq soldiers captured “a high ranking commander in al Qaeda’s network” in Diyala province, Voices of Iraq reported. The “Iraqi Army 5th Division, 2nd Brigade troops managed to capture a high ranking commander in al Qaeda’s network called Nu’aman al Ubaidi in a military operation conducted at Tahweelah village belonging to Khalis, 15 [kilometers] north of Baqubah,” said Staff General Salem al Mandalawi, the 5th Division commanding officer. Ubaidi “worked as a lieutenant in the 5th Division, before leaving the army and joining al Qaeda members.” Two US soldiers were also killed and one wounded during operations in Diyala province, Multinational Forces Iraq reported.

The day prior, an al Qaeda suicide bomber, dressed as a woman, flung himself on the hood of a car and killed four Iraqis and wounded six. His target was Sheikh Abu Sajaad, a leader in the Baqubah Awakening Council. Sajaad was killed in the attack.

The Long War Journal recently identified Diyala province as one of the most dangerous regions in Iraq. Miqdadiyah was singled out as a “haven” for al Qaeda in Iraq. The situation in Diyala has deteriorated so badly that an indefinite provincial-wide curfew has been imposed. “Owing to the bad security situation in Diyala province, the Diyala operations command will impose an indefinite vehicle curfew on Friday all over the province from the morning,” provincial military operations chief Brigadier General Raghib al Omeiri announced in a statement late today, AFP reported.

Brigadier General James Boozer, the Deputy Commander of Multinational Division North, stated that Miqdadiyah, Baqubah, and Mosul are the most dangerous cities in Iraq, and 60 percent of the violence occurs in the North. “Diyala is a crucial line of communication that the enemy wants to keep and that they were using to go to Baghdad,” said Boozer. “That line is now pretty sealed.” But the violence continues in Diyala as al Qaeda in Iraq attempts to destroy the Awakening and related Concerned Local Citizens movements fighting the terror groups.

Since the New Year, Iraqi and US forces have killed at least nine al Qaeda operatives and captured 20 during operations in the Baqubah and Miqdadiyah regions. On Jan. 1, US soldiers killed two and captured seven members of an al Qaeda IED cell in Buhriz and captured four more north of Miqdadiyah. On the same day Iraqi security forces captured an al Qaeda leader in Khalis and arrested four members of Buhriz’s popular committees for involvement with al Qaeda. On Dec. 31, police captured a senior al Qaeda leader and two associated in Baqubah.

US and Iraqi forces continue to work to dismantle al Qaeda’s network in Diyala and nationwide. Multinational Forces Iraq identified 51 senior al Qaeda members as killed or captured in December, Major General Kevin Bergner, the spokesman for Multinational Forces Iraq said in a Jan. 2 briefing. Among them were “8 regional, city and functional emirs, 9 cell leaders, 6 that were involved in media and propaganda activities, 5 foreign terrorist facilitators, 7 vehicle bomb and improvised explosive device facilitators, and 16 other facilitators, such as religious advisors, financiers, intelligence gatherers and weapons traffickers,” said Bergner.

Included in the 10 most significant al Qaeda operatives identified in December was Salam Hadi Alwan, al Qaeda in Iraq’s media emir, who was killed in a Dec.-4 raid in Khan Bani Sa’ad, just south of Baqubah. “He was new in this position having replaced the previous Emir who was killed in November,” said Bergner.

See Al Qaeda establishes “a haven in Diyala,” written on December 30, 2007 for more information.

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



  • Richard says:

    Any numbers for the American casualties for the month of December. I have been unable to find any numbers as the MSM does not report these numbers as in the past headlines. I wonder why?

  • DJ Elliott says:
    US Casualties are in basement for December. 21 dead includes accedental deaths…
    This edits those out…

  • bb says:

    It is shocking to me that a large number of US troops were recently withdrawn from Diyala, despite the fact that all concerned consider Diyala to be the currently most dangerous and thus, by extension, currently most important province in Iraq. What went into that decision?
    To me, the most shocking thing that has come out of the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the degree to which the US now lacks the military capacity to rotate 200,000 troops through those theatres without multiple and extended deployments. This revelation of weakness must be such a comfort to enemies like Iran and China. How was that allowed to happen?

  • DJ Elliott says:

    What are you talking about?
    The 3BCT-1CD may have departed but, Diyala ended up with more than it had before with the reshuffle of forces.
    Even better, most are 4SBCT-2ID and strykers are better suited for this work.
    Also, the IA adds a brigade to Diyala next month…
    The effective reductions were in Baghdad and Ninawa.

  • DJ Elliott says:
    PS We have never mobilized more than 10% of our one million reserves or redeployed any significant formation from Korea or Okinawa for Iraq and Afghan.
    Most of our problems are from our liberal deployment policies, not lack of forces. And the professional militaries are well aware of that. Policies are not binding. If either overplays thier hand, we mobilize the rest and deploy for the duration. Just like we did in WWII. Keep in mind that China would be a Navy/AF issue and very little of the USN/USAF is deployed.

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 01/04/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  • Ammo Guy says:

    Bingo DJ (as usual). Since I work in the five sided building, I’m often asked by friends and family about our perceived inability to respond to another conflict due to our ongoing commitments in support of OIF and OEF. Since their implication normally concerns an attack by NK on SK or the Red Chinese (quaint, no?) moving against Taiwan, my response is that any conflict involving the large scale maneuvering of brigades or divisions in the open can be dealt with by our flying artillery (USAF) and any hostile ships leaving their cozy harbors will soon be resting on the sea bottom thanks to our Navy. I will agree with them that we would have difficulty responding to another situation exactly like Iraq which requires large numbers of boots on the ground, but I don’t see that happening anywhere else. And, while Iran may have a lot of foot “soldiers,” in which direction are they going to attack – to their west is the best land army (with their nonpareil brothers, the Marines) ever fielded and to the east, more of the same. They may infiltrate in small numbers, but anything larger than that is merely target practice for our shooters. Then again, I could be wrong…but I doubt it. God bless our military.

  • 11bdad says:

    The 4th SBCT is there with other supporting units. You sound like you want to be a comfort to the enemy.

  • cjr says:

    To be specific,
    Before, Diyala had the following manuver battalions:
    -3/2nd bde (3 stryker battalions)
    -3/1st Cav bde (2 heavy battalions)
    Now Diyala has:
    -4/2nd bde (3 striker battalions) with the following attachments:
    -3nd squadron / 2nd CR (1 stryker battalion)
    -2nd squadron / 3rd ACR (1 heavy battalion)
    In other words, the net difference before and after is 1 heavy battalion was traded for 1 stryker battalion. Since Stryker battalion is more capable in this kind of warfare, the net capability actually increased.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Minor correction to CJR.
    – All four line Bns of 4-2 and their FA finished moving from Taji and are in Diyala.
    – 3-2 is home.
    End count is still an overall improvement…

  • bb says:

    Just to be clear, before y’all go thinking I’m some loon. I was trying to convey the sense that Bill’s article here spooked me. Maybe I read too much negativity into Bill’s tone, but I don’t think we can afford to have much backsliding going on in Diyala.
    Perhaps I am guilty of being duped by MSM reports, but multiple outlets said that 5,000 US soldiers were leaving Diyala as part of the first withdrawal of surge-related forces and that they would be replaced not by US forces but by newly trained Iraqi Army units.
    I am overjoyed that things have improved to the extent they have as a result of the surge and related change in strategy. I want that to continue, at all costs. We are just now at the point where the MSM is being forced to admit that this change in strategy has worked and Democrats in Congress are still only begrudgingly funding the effort. We need it to keep working in order to keep that momentum long enough for the Iraqi government to have a reasonable timeframe to make more official progress on at least some of the needed legislation (I never felt the initial timeline for meeting the benchmarks was fair anyway).
    As to my reference to the size of the army and Iran and China, that was meant to be pro-military, not anti-military. We need a bigger footprint, war or no war. I just wanted to express that I never imagined that soldiers having to serve 3 and 4 tours would be an issue during the debate leading up to the Iraq war. It was my acknowledgement that those of you who are serving now and have served recently are paying a terrible price for the post-cold war misjudgements. Thank you for serving where I didn’t. I apologize for not stepping up and pulling my weight when it was my turn in the early 1990s.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Was preparing to step in to tell folks not to make judgments, but I think you’ve done well handing on your own.
    Concerning my tone – the purpose of writing this is to get the point across that we still have work to do. Awareness of the situation. Some want to do victory laps, but we need to understand where we need to look to next as well as what is working now. Diyala needs tackled – it can and will be done. Remember the Kean-Kagan plan called for a 60K US troop surge. MNF-I got 30K, so things have to work slower.

  • KnightHawk says:

    Thanks again Bill and DJ for the update on the situation around Diyala, guess the lull (that’s probably not even fair) in operations or perception of lack of attention had more to due with the timing of shifting piece around. 3/2 home bound and 4/2 from taji and others moving in etc. Thanks for that info I knew 4/2 was leaving Taji but I didn’t know where they were headed.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Correction: Diyala has five Stryker Bns and a Bn from 3ACR.
    They gained a Bn in the shuffle.
    – All four line Bns of 4-2SBCT (4-9IN, 2-23IN, 1-38IN, 2-1C ).
    – one Bn from 2SCR (3Sq-2SCR)
    – one Bn from 3ACR (2Sq-3ACR)
    I was confusing 3Sq-2SCR with 3-2SBCT and lost track of a battalion…


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