Monday, November 29, 1999

FACTBOX - AQI names new leadership

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REUTERS - Al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate has appointed new leaders to replace senior commanders killed by U.S. and Iraqi forces, after naming a "war minister" who threatened bloody days for the country's majority Shi'ites.Here are some details of the group and its origins:* ORIGINS:-- The group was founded in October 2004 when Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi pledged his faith to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.-- An Egyptian called Abu Ayyab al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, is said to have become the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq after Zarqawi was killed in 2006.-- In October 2006, the al Qaeda-led Mujahideen Shura Council said it had set up the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an umbrella group of Sunni militant affiliates and tribal leaders led by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. In April 2007 it named a 10-man "cabinet", including Masri as its war minister.-- Fewer foreign volunteers made it into Iraq to fight with al Qaeda against the U.S.-backed government but the group has switched to fewer but more deadly attacks.* RECENT MAJOR ACTIVITY:-- Militants linked to al Qaeda claimed bombings in Baghdad on Dec. 8, 2009 near a courthouse, a judges' training centre, a Finance Ministry building and a police checkpoint in southern Baghdad. At least 112 people were killed and hundreds wounded.-- On Jan. 25, 2010 three suicide bombs rocked the Babylon, the (Sheraton) Ishtar, and al-Hamra hotels hotels in Baghdad, two of which were popular with foreigners and western media. At least 36 people were killed and more than 100 wounded.-- In a coordinated attack on foreign embassies on April 4 three suicide bombers strike near the Iranian, Egyptian and German embassies following mortar attacks on the Iraqi capital's Green Zone. The ISI said in a message posted on jihadist Internet forums that it was behind the attacks. The attacks also wounded more than 200 people.-- On April 18 al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the purported head of its affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, were killed in a raid in a rural area northwest of Baghdad by Iraqi and U.S. forces.-- At least 125 people were killed on May 10 in bombings across Iraq with many hundred wounded. U.S. and Iraqi military officals said they thought the attacks were clearly the work of al Qaeda in Iraq.-- On Sunday the ISI said its governing council had selected Abu Baker al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi as its caliph, or head, and Abu Abdullah al-Hassani al-Qurashi as his deputy and first minister - The names were most likely noms de guerre. The two leaders replaced Baghdadi, the former purported ISI head, and AQI leader, al-Masri.

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