Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Allāhu Akbar الله أكبر

Reuters - The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was killed on Tuesday in a fight between insurgents north of Baghdad, the Interior Ministry spokesman said, but the U.S. military said it could not confirm the report.

There has been growing friction between Sunni Islamist al Qaeda and other Sunni Arab insurgent groups over al Qaeda's indiscriminate killing of civilians and its imposition of an austere brand of Islam in the areas where it holds sway.

If true, the death of Abu Ayyub al-Masri would signal a deepening split at a time when the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is trying to woo some insurgent groups into the political process.

Interior Ministry spokesman, Brigadier-General Abdul Kareem Khalaf, said Masri was killed in a battle near a bridge in the small town of al-Nibayi, north of Baghdad.

"We have definite intelligence reports that al Masri was killed today," he said.

Both Khalaf and another Interior Ministry source said the Iraqi authorities did not have Masri's body, but the source added that "our people had seen the body".

Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told Reuters he understood Masri had been killed on Monday.