US Central Command Commander, Gen. David Petraeus, released the following statement this week on the deaths of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, head of Al Qaeda-Iraq, and his partner, Abu Umar al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State of Iraq, west of Tikrit during a joint Iraqi-US operation:
I congratulate the Iraqi and US forces who conducted the operation that resulted in the deaths of the heads of Al Qaeda-Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq. These two extremist leaders were responsible for barbaric attacks that killed thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens and Iraqi and Coalition Security Force members. Their deaths constitute another major milestone in the effort to defeat extremism in Iraq.
The operation that resulted in the deaths of the two leaders is a further illustration of the development of the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces. The deaths of these two leaders represent significant blows against extremism in Iraq. While we recognize that AQI retains the capability of carrying out periodic extremist attacks, Iraqi leaders have vowed to press the fight against Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq. In accordance with the Iraq-US Security Agreement, US forces will continue to assist and enable our Iraqi partners in that effort.
All I can add to this statement is, “Right on, General; well said, sir!”