Iraq launches new offensive against Al Qaeda

Last Updated: Mon, Apr 26, 2010 11:20 hrs

/AKI) Iraqi security forces Monday launched a fresh offensive against Al Qaeda in the country's Diyala province, a week after two top leaders of the terror network were killed in a joint operation by the Iraqi and US forces.

Al Qaeda leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were in a meeting when they were killed in an airstrike, a statement posted on Islamist websites said.

Iraqi Army said last Tuesday that US and Iraqi forces had killed another Al Qaeda leader Ahmed al-Obeidi in northern Nineveh province.

Obeidi was in charge of Al Qaeda operations in the northern Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Nineveh provinces.

In the latest military operation Monday, 21 people were arrested, including five supporters of the terror group, a security official told the Al-Arabiya TV. Security forces targeted five cities in the province, mainly Hot Harrin, considered a stronghold of the militants.

Since the deaths of the Al Qaeda leaders, at least 58 people were killed and dozens of others injured in a wave of apparent revenge bombings.

The attacks hit the capital Baghdad and the western Anbar province.

More from Sify: