Anyone notice how many times the leader of Al Qaeda is caught, only to hear that another one is caught months later?
Take the case of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Today we are told that:
Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Reesha — head of the anti-al Qaeda in Iraq tribal alliance — said fighters, with help from tribes in the Niba’ie area, killed al-Masri and eight of his aides in a battle Tuesday morning.
This is not the first time he’s been killed mind you. Last year, he was apparently taken out:
The Iraqi Interior Ministry says it is investigating reports that the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, has been killed. Brigadier General Abd al-Karim Khalaf, director of the National Command Center at the Interior Ministry, said on state television that the ministry has “very strong intelligence information” that al-Masri was killed in an internal fight between militants north of Baghdad.
And if that wasn’t strange enough, last July, it was reported that Masri had been in a prison in Egypt for the previous 7 years.
A prominent Cairo lawyer says the Egyptian man identified by the US as the new al-Qaeda leader in Iraq has been in jail in Egypt for seven years.
The lawyer, Mamdouh Ismail, who has represented Egyptian Islamists for many years, says he met the man days ago in a jail on the edge of Cairo.
Ismail went on to say:
“Sharif Haza told me that he has been in jail for many years now and that he has no relationship whatsoever with al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden”
It looks like Masri has been groomed to become the heir apparent to that other one legged boogie man that kept dying and miraculously re-appearing.
Imagine my surprise?
According to ABC News, reports that al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri has been killed are “unconfirmed and part of a misinformation campaign.”
Is it really a misinformation campaign of more of that faulty intelligence? Perhaps us cynical non-believers are just too paranoid?
Nevertheless, the false report came at an opportune time for the President Bush and his congressional allies.
Today’s news coverage of Masri’s death may shift attention away from stories that are damaging to Bush: the four year anniversary of “Mission Accomplished,” and the official signing of Congress’s Iraq timeline legislation.