Shortly before he died, Al Tunisi wrote a letter that warned of a threat
to Al Qaida operations in Karkh. The lettter, found by the U.S. military,
sought guidance from Al Qaida leaders amid coalition operations that
hampered Al Tunisi's network.
"We are so desperate for your help," the letter read.
"This was a dangerous terrorist who is no longer a part of Al Qaida in
Iraq," U.S. Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson, chief of staff of the Multinational
Corps Iraq, said. "His death deals a significant blow to their operation.
Abu Osama Al Tunisi was one of the most senior leaders within Al Qaida in
Anderson said Al Tunisi and two other Al Qaida operatives were killed in
the U.S. Air Force bombing mission. The brigadier told a Sept. 28 briefing
that an F-16 multi-role fighter leveled the building where Al Tunisi had
been meeting Al Qaida operatives.
Al Tunisi was said to have been a leading adviser to Al Masri, officials
said. They said Al Tunisi, a Tunisian national, might have been designated
Al Masri's successor.
"The inner circle of leadership with Abu Ayoub Al Masri consists of
foreigners, and Al Tunisi was in this top tier of leadership," Anderson
This was the second leading aide of Al Masri killed in less than a
month. On Aug. 31, another member of Al Masri's inner circle, Abou Yaakoub
Al Masri, was killed near Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad. Anderson said the two
remaining foreign leaders of Al Masri's inner circle remain at large.
"The top two Iraqis, Abu Shahed and Abdallah Latif Al Jaburi, have also
been captured or killed," Anderson said.
Al Tunisi was termed the emir, or commander, of foreign operatives in
Iraq. Anderson said Al Tunisi was responsible for the arrival of Al Qaida
recruits into Iraq and their placement in operational cells.
Officials said more than 80 percent of suicide bombings have been by
foreign operatives. They said most of the Al Qaida recruits arrive in Syria
by air and continue overland into Iraq.
Al Tunisi was said to have been operating in Yusufiyah, southwest of
Baghdad, since November 2004. Officials said he became commander of the area
in 2006 and was responsible for the abduction and killing of two U.S.
soldiers in June of that year.
The U.S.-led coalition operation began on Sept. 12 when an Al Tunisi
aide was captured. Officials said the aide provided information that led to
the capture of other key associates of Al Tunisi south and west of Baghdad.
One of the aides was said to have identified Al Tunisi at the meeting in
Musayib. The other two Al Qaida insurgents killed in the F-16 bombing were
identified as Abu Abdullah, said to be the new commander of the southern
part of Baghdad's Karkh region, and Sheik Hussein, an Al Qaida facilitator.