AQI Leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri Arrested UPDATE: Mistaken Identity
The Iraqi government claims to have arrested Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.
The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was arrested in the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday. Mohammed al-Askari said the arrest of al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, was confirmed to him by the Iraqi commander of the province. There was no immediate confirmation or comment from U.S. forces.
I doubt this will make any terrific difference. We’ve captured or “otherwise dealt with” more number twos and number threes than you can shake a stick at over the years and buried this guy’s predecessor under a ton of rubble. Still, if true, it at least means the Iraqi security forces are getting better.
Then again, al Maliki will likely let him go soon in some deal that makes no sense to anyone outside the country.
UPDATE: AP: “The U.S. military on Friday denied Iraqi government claims that the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was captured and said a man with a similar name had been arrested in the northern city of Mosul.”