Iraq’s al Qaeda leader killed: Arabiya TV

Abu Ayyub al-Masri

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iraq’s al Qaeda leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, has been killed, Al Arabiya television reported on Thursday.

It gave no further details. Masri, an Egyptian who is also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, assumed the leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq after Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in June.

US Military Officials denies reports of al-Masri’s demise… DNA Testing underway to determine if the body they have is in fact Al-Masri

From CNN

The U.S. military Thursday denied reports that al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri had been killed by U.S. forces in a raid.

At least two Arab networks and Reuters initially reported that al-Masri was dead, but a U.S. military spokesman said those reports are not true.

According to Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, the reports “do not appear to have any substance,” although he said several “terrorists” had been killed in an operation.

“We don’t believe al-Masri has been killed during recent coalition forces operations,” Johnson said, while admitting that there had been some initial hope that the al Qaeda in Iraq leader had been killed in the raid.

Johnson would not say when or where the operation took place, citing operational security.

Just last Sunday, Iraq’s national security adviser had issued a warning to al-Masri, saying that Iraqi troops were close to getting him “either as a corpse or tied up to face justice soon.”

At that time, Muwaffak al-Rubaie showed reporters a video captured during a recent raid that he said showed al-Masri training followers to make car bombs.

He estimated that al-Masri has been involved in making more than 2,000 car bombs that have killed more than 6,000 Iraqis over the past two years.

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