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Old 04-19-2010, 07:56 PM   #1
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US: Deaths of 2 al-Qaida in Iraq leaders big blow

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US: Deaths of 2 al-Qaida in Iraq leaders big blow

By LARA JAKES and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press

BAGHDAD – U.S. and Iraqi forces killed the two top al-Qaida figures in the country in a nighttime rocket attack on a safe house near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, a joint operation the U.S. called a significant blow to the insurgency and a sign Iraqi security forces are strengthening.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the killings of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri at a news conference in Baghdad and showed reporters photographs of their bloody corpses. The deaths were later confirmed by U.S. military officials.

The Iraqi leader said ground forces surrounded a house and used rockets to kill the two, who were hiding inside. The U.S. military said an American helicopter crashed during the assault, killing one U.S. soldier.

In Washington, Vice President Joe Biden called the killing of the two a "potentially devastating blow" to al-Qaida in Iraq.

U.S. forces commander Gen. Raymond Odierno praised the operation.

"The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaida in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency," he said. "There is still work to do but this is a significant step forward in ridding Iraq of terrorists."

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the operation targeting the two leaders showed the growing capability of Iraqi security forces.

U.S. military officials have been highlighting the role of Iraqi security forces in the country as a way to demonstrate their ability to take over security as American forces draw down.

Al-Masri was the shadowy national leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, which he took over after its Jordanian-born founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a June 2006 U.S. airstrike. Al-Masri's real name was Abdul-Monim al-Badawi, according to a 2009 al-Qaida statement describing the makeup of a new "War Cabinet." Al-Qaida in Iraq has been led primarily by foreigners, but Iraqis form its backbone. At its height, it was estimated at close to 10,000 fighters but it is believed to have dropped off in recent years.
Top al-Qaida leaders killed in Iraq, US says - Yahoo! News
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:41 PM   #2
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Can I just say that it was one of the most awkwardly-worded headlines I've seen in quite a while on CNN.com?

"Al Qaeda in Iraq Leaders Killed."

WTF, CNN. Fire your copy editor.
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