Irak — Biden Calls Leaders’ Deaths ‘Devastating’ to al-Qaida

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2010 — Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden today praised Iraqi and U.S. secu­ri­ty forces for killing two top lead­ers of the al-Qai­da in Iraq ter­ror orga­ni­za­tion. Biden said the oper­a­tion – con­duct­ed yes­ter­day – was the result of Iraqi plan­ning and exe­cu­tion, and was devel­oped via intel­li­gence Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces received last month. An Amer­i­can ser­vice­mem­ber died in the crash of a U.S. heli­copter that sup­port­ed the raid, Biden said. Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces killed Abu Ayoub al-Mas­ri and Abu Omar al-Bahg­da­di in a series of oper­a­tions con­duct­ed near Tikrit.

The deceased ter­ror­ists “are the ones who plot­ted and exe­cut­ed attacks by [al-Qai­da in Iraq] against the Iraqis in the recent past, as well as the Amer­i­cans,” Biden said at the White House press room. “Their deaths are poten­tial­ly dev­as­tat­ing blows to al-Qai­da [in] Iraq.”

Biden called on the Iraqi gov­ern­ment to con­sol­i­date the secu­ri­ty gains and hon­or the sac­ri­fices many have made.

“It’s now incum­bent upon Iraq’s polit­i­cal lead­ers to take the next and impor­tant and nec­es­sary step to form an inclu­sive and rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment that meets the needs and aspi­ra­tions of the Iraq peo­ple,” Biden said.

The Unit­ed States will end its com­bat mis­sion in Iraq by the end of August. Biden stressed that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

“As we com­plete this secu­ri­ty tran­si­tion, we will con­tin­ue to work to build a last­ing part­ner­ship with the Iraqi peo­ple and their gov­ern­ment based on the many shared inter­ests we have that go beyond secu­ri­ty,” the vice pres­i­dent said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)