Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi
|Abu Omar al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi|
|Commander of the Islamic State of Iraq|
October 14, 2006 – 18 April 2010
|Succeeded by||Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi|
Hamid Dawud Mohamed Khalil al Zawi, most commonly known as Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi (ابو عبدالله الراشد البغدادي), and also known as Abu Hamza al-Baghdadi and ( pronunciation (help·info) AH-boo OH-mahr ahl bahg-DAHD-ee[needs IPA] Abu Omar al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi, (died 18 April 2010) was the nom de guerre of a possibly fictional leader of the Mujahideen Shura Council (also translated as "Council of Freedom Fighters", "Consultative Council of Mujahedeen", and "Council of Holy Warriors"), an umbrella organization composed of eight groups that oppose the United States' military presence in Iraq, and its successor organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq.
The Interior Ministry of Iraq claimed that al-Baghdadi was captured in Baghdad on 9 March 2007, but it was later said that the person in question was not al-Baghdadi. On 3 May 2007, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said that al-Baghdadi was killed by American and Iraqi forces north of Baghdad. However, in July 2007, the U.S. military reported that al-Baghdadi never actually existed. The detainee identified as Khaled al-Mashhadani, a self-proclaimed intermediary to Osama bin Laden, claimed that al-Baghdadi was a fictional character created to give an Iraqi face to a foreign-run terror group, and that statements attributed to al-Baghdadi were actually read by an Iraqi actor.
In March 2008, the spokesman for an insurgent organization that is hostile to the Coalition, Hamas-Iraq, claimed that al-Baghdadi was a fabrication made by Al Qaeda to put a false Iraqi face to their organization. However, US military officials later reported that Al Qaeda replaced Baghdadi with an actual Al Qaeda leader.
Identification and capture
On 7 May 2008, the Arabic-language satellite channel Al-Arabiya, citing information obtained from an Iraqi police official, identified al-Baghdadi as Hamid Dawoud al-Zawi. On 23 April 2009, AFP reported that he was arrested by the Iraqi military, and on 28 April the Iraqi government produced photos to prove it to skeptics. The claim was denied by the Islamic State in Iraq which according to SITE Institute released an apparently genuine recording of al-Baghdadi denying the government's recent claims. However, the Iraqi government refuted this claim and insisted that the man captured was indeed Baghdadi. Tapes and messages were released in the name of Baghdadi throughout 2009 and 2010.
On 18 April 2010, al-Baghdadi was reported killed over the weekend when a joint operation of American and Iraqi forces rocketed a home where he was hiding near Tikrit, Iraq. Abu Ayyub al-Masri was also reported as killed in the attack. His son was also killed in the attack and 16 others were arrested. He was killed in a safe house six miles (10 kilometers) southwest of Tikrit and was found dead in a hole in the ground inside a house.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the killings of al-Baghdadi and Ayyub al-Masri at a news conference in Baghdad and showed reporters photographs of their bloody corpses. "The attack was carried out by ground forces which surrounded the house, and also through the use of missiles", al-Maliki said. "During the operation computers were seized with e-mails and messages to the two biggest terrorists, Osama bin Laden and [his deputy] Ayman al-Zawahiri", al-Maliki added. U.S. forces commander Gen. Raymond Odierno praised the operation. "The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaida in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency", he said. "There is still work to do but this is a significant step forward in ridding Iraq of terrorists".
Joe Biden said that the killings of the top two al-Qaida figures in Iraq are "potentially devastating" blows to the terror network there and proof that Iraqi security forces are gaining ground. On 25 April 2010, a four-page statement by the Islamic State of Iraq was posted on a militant website early Sunday confirmed the death of al-Masri and Al-Baghdadi saying "After a long journey filled with sacrifices and fighting falsehood and its representatives, two knights have dismounted to join the group of martyrs," the statement said. "We announce that the Muslim nation has lost two of the leaders of jihad, and two of its men, who are only known as heroes on the path of jihad."
The ISI shariah minister, Abu al-Walid Abd al-Wahhab al-Mashadani, also said the two leaders were attending a meeting when "enemy forces" engaged them in battle and launched an airstrike on their location. Another thing he said was that the 'Crusaders' and Shi'ites will exploit the incident to improve the image of Iraqi security services and give the enemy alliance an 'illusory' victory after the mass-casualty incidents carried out by the ISI in Baghdad," the statement added, in an apparent reference to Friday's bomb attacks.
- Insurgent leader arrested in Iraq, Wimmera News. March 10, 2007.
- Al-Qaeda names mystery man to succeed Zarqawi. Agence France Presse. 13 June 2006.
- Burns, John F.; Filkins, Dexter (13 June 2006). "A Jihadist Web Site Says Zarqawi's Group in Iraq Has a New Leader in Place". New York Times.
- Filkins, Dexter; Burns, John F. (16 June 2006). "U.S. Portrayal Helps Flesh Out Zarqawi's Heir". New York Times.
- Iraqi ministry: Militant leader arrested in Baghdad, CNN. 9 March 2007.
- "Captured Iraqi not al-Baghdadi", Al Jazeera, March 10, 2007.
- "Iraq says insurgent leader dead". CNN. May 3, 2007.
- Yates, Dean (18 July 2007). "Senior Qaeda figure in Iraq a myth: U.S. military". Reuters. p. 1. Retrieved 28 July 2007.
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- MEMRI: Latest News
- By Bill Roggio April 19, 2010 (2010-04-19). "US and Iraqi forces kill Al Masri and Baghdadi, al Qaeda in Iraq's top two leaders". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- Report: Al-Qaida in Iraq leader identified with photograph - International Herald Tribune
- Head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq arrested in Baghdad: army, Agence France-Presse, 23 April 2009.
- Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq denies head captured, Reuters, 12 May 2009
- Secure at Last May 18th, 2009 - 07:52:55 (2009-05-18). "Iraqi security forces insist detainee is al-Qaeda leader". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Al-Qaida leader in Iraq calls for continued jihad Associated Press Maamoun Youssef – 23 March 2010.
- WorldAnalysis.net archive of text and translations of tapes listed as by al-Baghdadi
- Waleed Ibrahim. "Al Qaeda's top two leaders in Iraq have been killed, officials said Monday, in a strike the United States called a "potentially devastating blow" but whose impact analysts said may be limited". Thomson Reuters.
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- "Iraqi al-Qaeda leaders 'killed'". BBC News. 19 April 2010.
- Top al-Qaida leaders killed in Iraq, US says at the Wayback Machine (archived April 21, 2010)
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|Wikinews has related news: Iraq says leader of the insurgent group Mujahideen Shura Council killed|