There are unconfirmed reports the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq has been killed. A spokesman said the Iraqi Interior Ministry had received intelligence information that Abu Ayyub al-Masri was killed. But the US military has said it is checking the information. Al-Masri is thought to have taken over the leadership of the group last year, after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a US air raid.
The Interior Ministry spokesman said al-Masri was killed in an “internal battle” between militants, that took place in a small town north of Baghdad. But he said the authorities did not have the body.
There has reportedly been friction between Al Qaeda and local Sunni Arab groups – especially over the former’s killing of civilians in the country. It is understood al-Masri trained in Afghanistan and helped Zarqawi form the first al-Qaeda cell in the Iraqi capital. It is believed the group carried out a series of suicide bombings in Iraq in recent months.