US forces kill al Qaeda’s leader in Mosul

US special operations forces scored a major victory in Mosul today. US forces killed al Qaeda’s emir, or leader, of the northern Iraq city during a raid on a safe house.

The emir, who has not been named, was killed after a special operations forces team from Task Force 88, the hunter-killer teams assigned to take down terrorists in Iraq, stormed a building in Mosul. The commandos opened fire after one of the terrorists attempted to detonate his suicide vest was shot and another reached for a pistol. A woman with the group attempted to detonate the vest on the dead al Qaeda operative.

The takedown of al Qaeda’s emir in Mosul is the latest blow to the terror network in the North. Over the weekend, the emir of eastern Mosul and the leader of car-bombing operations in western half of the city were detained. On June 20, Coalition forces detained al Qaeda’s security emir in Mosul. His predecessor was captured just two months prior, and his predecessor was captured in February.

On June 17, Iraqi security forces captured a senior cell leader for the Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda’s front group created to put an Iraqi face on the network. On June 11, Coalition forces captured the leader of al Qaeda’s illegal court system in the city.

Scores of cell leaders, facilitators, weapons smugglers, and fighters have been captured or killed by US and Iraqi forces during operations in June.

In mid-May, Iraqi forces captured the leader of al Qaeda’s network in Ninewa province. In February and March, US and Iraqi forces killed three senior Saudi-born al Qaeda leaders in the city.

Multinational Forces Iraq has zeroed in on al Qaeda in Iraq’s network after operatives attempted to reorganize in the northern city. Al Qaeda last year suffered major defeats in Anbar province, Baghdad, and the surrounding regions.

Fourteen of the 30 senior-most al Qaeda operatives identified as killed or captured by Multinational Forces Iraq between February and May hailed from Mosul.

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



  • C. Jordan says:

    GO!!! US Special Operations Forces
    Nice work guys, Roll ’em up for a peaceful Iraq.

  • Tom Q says:

    We almost certainly didn’t want to kill this guy. He is much more valuable alive than dead. If they are shooting people with explosive vests on or near their person, they have to be using that excellent frangible ammo. Killing however is better than the obvious “disadvantages” of an exploding vest. They get all the intel from laptops and other data that might be destroyed.
    We have the finest Special Op guys in the world and the ones on this mission are the very “best of the best”.

  • ST333 says:

    Well done men. Can’t help but think it’s just a matter of time before the find the head of the AQI snake and cut that off too.

  • C. Jordan says:

    “He is much more valuable alive than dead.”
    Remember Safety first 🙂

  • Bill Green says:

    Maybe they should call it the not-so-safe house? Well done guys and gals!

  • Turner says:

    The fact that there was a suicide bomber posted in the “not-so-safe” house is interesting. Having lost so many so fast, perhaps they’ve begun to think of the emir as another form of “bait” for US troops. If they have to keep losing guys, they try to take someone out with him. That must be a pretty desparate place ot come from.
    Bill: I appreciated the drama of the scene you outlined in the room. The desparate attempts to blow the vest, fast acting instincts from the Task Force members, the woman leaping to set of the vest, etc. (wow!) I’ll bet their knees were shaking when it was over.
    Mosul has to be somewhat of a pipeline for Sunni terrorists from outside. The adjacency to Syria and the ability to hide in a big city has to be attractive.

  • cjr says:

    Tom: I would bet SOF have already had some training in this kind of situation:
    You enter a room.
    You see your target plus a man with his finger on the trigger of a sucide vest. What do you do?
    Option 1: Convene a commitee to think though the cost / benefit implications of various risk weighted kinetic and non kinetic options.
    Option 2: Shoot.
    PS: There is no partcial credit in this exersize.

  • Private Finch says:

    Not to suggest that our MSM will never cover good news from Iraqi – Afghanistan, but you don’t hear one word of news of our successes. Last year my local far left newspaper, had the smallest Iraq problem featured on page one above the ‘fold.’ Now they never mention the success of the surge. They can’t understand why their sales are down 10% a year. I’m fully of joy to read all of the good news from Iraq. Our troops have the courage and the skill to win.

  • GM Earnest says:

    Excellent news! Lately I am in awe of the tenacity and discipline of our forces in Iraq. Keep up the good work! There are many like myself at home who salute you!

  • AQI Losses says:

    The AQI leadership in Mosul is being rolled up significantly. Here are some more additions:
    On Saturday, June 21, Emir of car bombing operations for West Mosul, plus a cell leader captured.
    On Sunday, June 22, Emir of East Mosul captured.
    Also, from the MSM reports I’ve read today, I have yet come across one that mentions the death of the Emir of Mosul. However, all have mentioned the suicide bombing today in Mosul that killed two. I’m very grateful that the LWJ provides an alternative source of news and info in order to get a complete picture.

  • KnightHawk says:

    AQI Losses – Special Report had a 90 second positive progress piece on the Mosul area Monday night, granted the emir and other recent pickups were not mentioned. The Baltimore Sun had a little piece today about how tv coverage of iraq is far lower then last year about 10 fold. Gee I wonder why that is? 😉

  • jim2 says:

    “Private Finch” raises a good point, IMHO.
    There are a lot of folk who would buy newspapers and magazines to read articles detailing the successes of their nation’s soldiers who are their sons and daughters and brothers and sisters, and/ot those of their friends/neighbors.
    Their general refusal to carry those stories sure is not working for them financially. Why would they not try to lead with them and see how that works, financially?
    Is it a group-wide commercial death-wish? Would they rather fail than carry that?

  • Willy Mo says:

    Cheer on the success but gentlemen watch OPSEC. Mission of TF88 compromised in open source. AQ isn’t stupid. According to the Manchester document nearly 80% of AQ intelligence comes from open source material. Don’t feed the enemy!

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Nothing is compromised here. The information is obtained from MNF-I’s own press release. And it is no secret the “Coalition Forces” in a press release means TF-88. AQ isn’t stupid, they know exactly when they’ve been hit by TF-88. It happens on a daily basis, several times a day.

  • britsarmymom says:

    I echo Pvt Finch and Jim2’s observations, and dropped my subscription to the Boston Globe, waiting for a decent paper to emerge. (The Economist is the best I can do for now). This Editorial from The Telegraph in Nashua, NH was the closest thing I’ve found to “heartening”.
    Thank you Bill and staff for keeping us out of the dark. I actually print each report with reader comments and mail them to my son in Mosul so that HE knows WE know and we’re watching, closely with deep investment, respect and gratitude.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    Outstanding work by US/UK Spec. Ops. They are doing a bang up job. When AQI is finished, wat kind of Iraq are we gonna have? The Kurds are forming thier own state it seems, and the Shia south gravitates towards Iran. Despite all we have done, Iran may wind up the big winner here. Peace is fragile in Iraq, I wonder wat kind of Iraq have we helped create?


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram