Top Iraq Al Qaeda Leader Injured Near Baghdad
The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was wounded and an aide was killed in a clash with Iraqi forces north of Baghdad, the Interior Ministry spokesman said. The clash occurred near Balad, a major U.S. base about 50 miles north of the capital, Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said. Khalaf said al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri was wounded and his aide, identified as Abu Abdullah al-Majemaai, was killed.
Abu Ayyub Al-MasriKhalaf declined to say how Iraqi forces knew al-Masri had been injured, and there was no report on the incident from U.S. authorities. Deputy Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Hussein Ali Kamal said he had no information about such a clash or that al-Masri had been involved. Al-Masri took over the leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq after its charismatic leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a U.S. airstrike last June in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.