Also killed during the engagement was Hamid Dawud Muhammad Khalil al Zawi, otherwise known as Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, who served AQI as the leader of the proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and held the title “Prince of the Faithful.”
The death of these two terrorists is a potentially devastating blow to AQI.
A series of Iraqi-led joint operations conducted over the last week resulted in the Iraqi Forces, with U.S. support, executing a nighttime raid on the AQI leaders’ safe house. The joint security team identified both AQI members, and the terrorists were killed after engaging the security team. Additionally, Masri’s assistant, along with the son of al-Baghdadi, who were also involved in terrorist activities, were killed.
After conducting preliminary questioning and initial examination of the evidence during the operation, Government of Iraq elements arrested 16 additional suspected criminal associates of the warranted individuals.
“The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency,” said United States Forces-Iraq commander, Gen. Ray Odierno. “The Government of Iraq intelligence services and security forces supported by U.S. intelligence and special operations forces have over the last several months continued to degrade AQI. There is still work to do but this is a significant step forward in ridding Iraq of terrorists. As the GoI continues to protect the people of Iraq, the U.S. stands ready to assist them.”
During the operation, a USF-I Soldier was killed during the assault when a U.S. helicopter crashed.