DUBAI (Reuters) – An Iraqi al Qaeda-led group, the Islamic State in Iraq, announced in a statement posted on the internet the death of senior leader Abu Usama al-Tunisi and swore revenge for his killing by coalition troops last week.
U.S. army officials said coalition forces killed al-Tunisi, a Tunisian whose group kidnapped and killed two U.S. soldiers in June 2006, in an air strike on Tuesday south of Baghdad.
“We announce to the Islamic world and to all fighters the martyrdom of our leader and fighter Abu Usama al-Tunisi,” the group said in the statement posted on a militant Web site late on Monday.
The group hailed Tunisi as one of their best and oldest fighters who led major “battles” in the “Triangle of Death” south of Baghdad and in Fallujah, where U.S. troops engaged in fierce fighting with the insurgents last year.
“Oh Usama, The war is continuous between us and them (coalition forces) and we will get them and we will fight them, we lately tore apart their bodies.”
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson described al-Tunisi on Friday as one of the most senior leaders in Al Qaeda in Iraq, and described his death as a significant blow to the insurgents’ operations.