The Iraqi security forces have a bad habit of jumping the gun on a big announcement, so let’s wait until the Americans confirm this before we break out the waterboard, but this is great news if true:
Al Qaeda in Iraq leader reportedly arrested
The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was arrested in the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday.
CNN is working to confirm the information.
Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said the arrest of al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, was confirmed to him by the Iraqi commander of the province.
"The commander of Ninevah military operations informed me that Iraqi troops captured Abu Hamza al-Muhajir the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq," al-Askari told The Associated Press by telephone.
Al-Masri, an Egyptian militant, took over al Qaeda in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed June 7, 2006 in a U.S. airstrike northeast of Baghdad.
We’ve heard news like this before, only to be disappointed. But there’s no question that al Qaeda in Iraq is under tremendous pressure from Coalition forces. Al Masri would be on the move regularly to avoid capture, and it’s those times when he might make a mistake. Or maybe some local, among the millions tired of the jihadist insanity of al Qaeda, gave him up.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
LINKS: Background at The Long War Journal.