NEWS

U.S. Military Killed or Captured 51 Terrorist Leaders in Iraq

By Matthew Harwood

The U.S. military had a successful December against al Qaeda in Iraq, killing or capturing 51 of the terrorist organization's leaders, reports Agence France Presse.

Of those captured in December, "eight were regional, city or functional emirs, nine were cell leaders, six were involved in media and propaganda activities and five that were foreigner terrorist facilitators," Bergner said.

He said the others were involved in bomb-making, or were spiritual advisers, financiers, intelligence gatherers or weapons traffickers.

Two high-level captures include "the leader of Al-Qaeda in the northern city of Baiji and the regional leader in charge from west Baghdad to Fallujah," says U.S. military spokesman Major General Kevin Bergner. He also said that many captured terrorists had direct communication with al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri.

Bergner also said that captures had revealed that the Islamic State of Iraq terrorist organization was a sham front group for al Qaeda to cover up its foreign origins. It's leader, Omar al-Baghdadi, is said to be a fictional character created by al-Masri to give the foreign terrorist network an Iraqi face. However, audio messages reputedly recorded by al-Baghdadi exist, making his existence a cause for dispute.

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