Saturday, June 5, 2010

US General: Most Al-Qaida Leaders in Iraq Killed

Via Yahoo! News (AP) -

The top American commander in Iraq said Friday that most of the senior leaders of al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq — 34 out of 42 — have been captured or killed over the past three months.

Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters that the focus now is on keeping mid- or low-level fighters from taking their place.

"We will continue with our Iraqi security partners to go after them," Odierno said. "But there are still some very dangerous people out there."


More recently, U.S. officials say al-Qaida's presence and influence in Iraq has diminished as the terrorist group turns its focus to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as countries like Somalia with weak central government control.

At the Pentagon, Odierno told reporters that the U.S. had been "whittling away" at the remaining al-Qaida force inside Iraq for a long time. Last winter, he said, the U.S. was able to make significant inroads into the group's headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

"We were able to get inside this network," he said.

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