Iraqi security forces killed al Qaeda in Iraq’s top military commander for the north during a raid yesterday in the outskirts of Mosul.
The al Qaeda military commander, identified as Ahmad Ali Abbas Dahir al Ubayd and also known as Abu Suhaib, was killed during a raid in a region just northeast of Mosul, the US military said in a press release. Ubayd was killed after Iraqi forces, backed by US soldiers, took fire from a building where he was sheltering.
Ubayd was responsible for al Qaeda’s military operations in the northern provinces of Ninewa, Salahadin, and Kirkuk, according to Voices of Iraq.
“He was the guy in charge of operations from Tikrit all the way up to Mosul out to the Syrian border,” General Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, told Fox News. “He was the military emir.”
Khalifa’s death is the latest blow to al Qaeda in Iraq’s leadership over the past three days. On Sunday, Iraqi and US forces killed Abu Ayyub al Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq who was appointed by Ayman al Zawahiri, and Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the leader of al Qaeda’s puppet Islamic State of Iraq. Both men were killed, along with an aide to al Masri and Baghdadi’s son, after the joint Iraqi-US force launched an operation in the Thar Thar region just outside of Tikrit.
Iraqi and US forces are reported to have seized a treasure trove of intelligence after killing Baghdadi and al Masri. Intelligence teams retrieved documents, laptops, cell phones, and correspondence with al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin laden, US military intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.
Intelligence gathered from the raid that killed al Masri and Baghdadi helped Iraqi and US forces hunt down Ubayd, General Odierno said.
US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that intelligence gathered in the past four months during operations against al Qaeda’s northern network helped the joint forces zero in on al Masri and Baghdad.
Since January, the US has picked apart the top leaders of al Qaeda’s northern network. Among those killed or captured are the last two overall leaders of the northern Iraq network, the last two emirs of Mosul, the top facilitator operating in the Iraq-Syria border areas, and other senior members of the network [see LWJ report, “Iraqi forces capture two senior al Qaeda leaders in Mosul,” for the list]. The killing of Ubayd adds al Qaeda in Iraq’s northern military commander to that list.
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