Friday, June 27, 2008

Iraq: On Ground Updates - June 27, 2008

Iraq: On Ground Updates
Officials Identify Mosul al-Qaida Leader...
Killed in Recent Operation

, June 27, 2008

A terrorist killed during a June 24 operation in Mosul, Iraq, has been positively identified as the city's top al-Qaida in Iraq leader, military officials here reported today.

Officials said coalition forces killed Abu Khalaf, the al-Qaeda in Iraq "emir" of Mosul.

In the operation, coalition forces engaged and killed a man who was reaching for a pistol, another who was wearing a suicide vest, and a woman who tried to detonate the dead man's suicide vest. Associates later identified Abu Khalaf as one of the men killed in the operation.

As coalition forces were taking down the terrorist leader, officials said, they also were moving in on one of his suspected closest assistants, detaining him and uncovering more than $100,000 in U.S. currency.

Abu Khalaf previously had been a deputy and Mosul military commander for a close associate of former al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a June 2006 coalition bombing raid. He rose through the ranks to become the terror organization's overall chieftan in Mosul.

In that capacity, officials said, he met with senior al-Qaida in Iraq leaders in Mosul and Jazeera, coordinating and ordering dozens of attacks against Iraqi citizens, Iraqi forces and coalition forces.

Information gleaned from associates in custody revealed that Abu Khalaf often traveled with foreigners, and associates identified the suicide-vest-wearing man killed with him as Abu Khalud, a Syrian who was a longtime close associate of the Mosul terrorist leader, officials said.

"With the declining morale [among al-Qaida in Iraq operatives] and paranoia within their ranks, Abu Khalaf's death and loss of funds will severely impact their terrorist operations," Navy Lt. David Russell, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said.

News article by DoD’s American Forces Press Service - Taken from a Multinational Force Iraq news release

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