International al Qaeda Operative Omar Farouq Killed in Iraq

Farouq was a lieutenant of bin Laden and al Qaeda’s operations chief in Southeast Asia

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Omar Farouq in 2002.

Coalition forces have scored another senior jihadi in Iraq. This time, the British forces in Basra have killed Omar Farouq, a senior al Qaeda operative. The BBC reports Farouq was ‘tracked across Iraq to Basra,’ then killed after 200 British troops surrounded a home where he took shelter. Farouq was killed in an ensuing gunfight. This operation has the stamp of Task Force 145, the unit designated to target senior al Qaeda members world wide, all over it.

Omar Farouq is a Kuwaiti, and is a world traveler for al Qaeda. He was “considered al Qaeda’s point man in southeast Asia” and “a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden.” He was arrested by Indonesian police in June of 2002. “Al-Faruq set up the first Al Qaeda training camp in Southeast Asia in Mindinao (Philippines) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 1994. In 1998, he went to Indonesia and later took credit for the 1999 bombing of a mosque there (to trigger Christian attacks against Muslims) and the Philippine ambassador’s house in Jakarta. The al-Faruq arrest has been described as one of the outgrowths of the arrest of high-ranking Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah in March 2002,” reports the Counterterrorism Blog’s Andrew Cochran. He subsequently escaped from Bagram prison along with three other al Qaeda members in June of 2005. Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi, who recently released a jihadi videotape, was also among those in the jailbreak.

Farouq’s death comes on the heels of the capture of Muntasir Hamoud Ileiwi al-Jubour, a member of Ansar al-Sunnah’s military Shura, and an as of yet unnamed military commander of the 1920s Revolution Brigades. Abu Jaafar al-Liby was killed and Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi was captured earlier this month. Both were members of al Qaeda in Iraq’s Mujahideen Shura.

While much hay has been made recently that Iraq is an ‘engine for jihad,’ Farouq and other foreign fighters’ deaths at the hands of Iraqi and Coalition forces also demonstrates Iraq can be a magnet for jihadis as well. Iraq can be, and is, both.

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