American troops acting on a tip killed the No. 2 leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq—a Moroccan known for his ability to recruit and motivate foreign fighters—in a raid in the northern city of Mosul, the US military said today. The man, known as Abu Qaswarah, was a charismatic leader who had trained in Afghanistan and managed to rally al-Qaeda followers in Iraq despite US and Iraqi security gains.
The insurgent became the senior al-Qaeda in Iraq emir in June 2007 and had "historic ties to AQI founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and senior al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan," the military said. Abu Qaswarah directed the smuggling of foreign terrorists into northern Iraq and reportedly killed those who tried to return to their homelands rather than carry out suicide bombings and other attacks against Iraqis.