The Iraqi Prime Minister has announced and the United States military has confirmed that Abu Ayyub al-Masri (AAM) and Abu Umar al Baghdadi (AUAB) are dead. AAM was the replacement leader for al Qaeda in Iraq after the death of the founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (AMZ). Abu Umar al-Baghdadi was the face of the al Qaeda umbrella group, the Islamic State of Iraq.
Both AAM and AUAB are big catches. AAM was an Egyptian who served as the primary link between al Qaeda in Iraq and al Qaeda. Meanwhile AUAB was an ex-Saddam era cop who rose quickly in the insurgency leadership by being one of the first Islamist Iraqi to fight the new government and the foreign Coalition. AUAB became the de facto caliph of the Islamic state centered in the Middle East because AAM realized that a Jordanian/Egyptian lead group killing Iraqis was not going to win the support of the Iraqi people, Sunni or otherwise.
According to reports both AAM and AUAB were killed at a meeting house near Lake Tharthar. The area around the eastern shore of the lake has long been an uncontrolled space. The United States Marine Corps was arrived in area in late 2008 to route out any insurgents. However, there was very little hostile activity so the Marines left. Smuggling from the lake continued and insurrgents continued to use the shore as a cease-fire, lying low zone. AAM and AUAB must have thought this area would be a safe place to meet. However, both Iraqi and American forces were able to hunt them down much like AMZ.
AUAB was the big one that got away for me. While I was doing geography/sleeping during Thanksgiving he was probably no more than a dozen miles away for me. This songs for all those terrorists who hunt on the innocent...