US kills al Qaeda leader who kidnapped US troops

AP:

U.S.-led forces have killed one of the most important leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq, a Tunisian believed connected to the kidnapping and killings last summer of American soldiers, a top commander said Friday.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson said the death of the suspected terrorist in a U.S. airstrike Tuesday south of Baghdad, and recent similar operations against al-Qaida, have left the organization in Iraq fractured.

"Abu Osama al-Tunisi was one of the most senior leaders ... the emir of foreign terrorists in Iraq and part of the inner leadership circle," Anderson said.

Al-Tunisi was a leader in helping bring foreign terrorists into the country and his death "is a key loss" to al-Qaida leadership there, Anderson told a Pentagon news conference.

The U.S. Central Command said American aircraft dropped two 500-pound bombs on a terrorist safehouse, killing al-Tunisi and two others suspected terrorists who were meeting there.

Speaking by videoconfernece from Baghdad, Anderson said that al-Tunisi operated in Yusufiyah, southwest of Baghdad, since the second battle of Fallujah in November '04 and became the overall emir of Yusufiyah in the summer of '06. He said his group was responsible for kidnapping American soldiers in June 2006.

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Anderson said recent coalition operations also have helped cut in half the previous flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, which had been at about 60 to 80 a month.

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"They are very broken up, very unable to mass, and conducting very isolated operations," he said. He could not estimate the number of foreign fighters in Iraq but said they commit over 80 percent of suicide bombings in the country.

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Justice comes to Abu Osama al-Tunisi. Good riddance. Al Qaeda continues to be back on its heels like a Democrat running for cover on the Iraq war. They may lash out every now and then but they are in retreat. His kidnap operations did not have the political effect that al Qaeda expected. The same could be said for the political effects of the Democrats attacks on Gen. Petraeus.

The Jawa Report says he was responsible for the murder mutilation of Thomas Tucker and Kristian Menchaca. Menchaca was from Texas.

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