Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the killings of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri earlier Monday at a news conference in Baghdad and showed reporters photographs of their bloody corpses.Tikrit was not only the home to Saddam Hussein, but was the nexus for insurgent and al Qaeda activity since Saddam's regime fell. Getting both al-Baghadadi and al-Masri in a single raid is most impressive given that terrorists generally don't congregate in groups precisely because it frequently leads to attacks that can do serious damage to the terror infrastructure.
U.S. forces commander Gen. Raymond Odierno says the deaths are potentially the most significant blow to the terrorist organization since the beginning of the insurgency.
The U.S. military said they were killed in a nighttime raid on their safehouse Sunday near Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
There have been several previous reports that al-Masri was killed, but this time we have confirmation of his demise. Someone must have gotten real good intel to get both of them in the same raid.
At the same time, the US confirms that they're on pace to reduce the number of troops in Iraq on schedule even as raids against al Qaeda and insurgents continue.