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Abu Ayyub al-Masri

Successor to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Abu Ayyub al-MasriAbu Ayyub al-Masri

ImportanceVery High
AffiliationAl-Qaeda in Iraq1,2
SupervisorAbu Musab al-Zarqawi
AffiliationEgyptian Islamic Jihad4
AffiliationMujahideen Shura Council5
Alias(es)Abu al-Masri1
Alias(es)Abu Hamza al-Muhajer4, Abu-Hamzah Al-Muhajir, Abu Hamza al-Mujahir, Abu Hamza al-Mohajer
Alternate Spelling(s)Abu Ayoub al-Masri, Abu Ayyub el Masry, Abu Ayyub al-Misri, Abu Ajub al-Masri, Abou Ayyub al-Masri
Place of BirthEgypt1
HistoryAttended training camp in postwar Afghanistan (1990-2001)1
Narrative and Notes
  • An American military spokesman in Iraq identified "Abu al-Masri" as the likely successor to Abu Musab Zarqawi after Zarqawi was killed on June 7, 2006. Military officials later confirmed he is the same as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, a most-wanted terrorist in Iraq for over a year.
  • On Feb. 11, 2005, U.S. Central Command announced the Iraqi government had issued a warrant for his arrest, and the U.S. government initially offered a reward of $50,000 for information leading to his capture. The reward was later raised to $5 million.
  • He is the last remaining original member of the Mujahideen Shura Council.
  • He has manufactured explosives in Iraq, particularly car and truck bombs. He has also helped foreign fighters move from Syria to Baghdad, and oversaw al-Qaeda's activities in southern Iraq.
  • He also arranged meetings between Zarqawi and Ansar al-Islam commander Umar Baziyani.
  • He has been a terrorist since 1982, when he joined Ayman al-Zawahri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad.1,2,5
  • He probably came into Iraq in 2002, before Zarqawi's arrival, and may have helped establish the first al-Qaeda cell in the Baghdad area.
  • He was believed to have fled Fallujah during the U.S.-led offensive into the city, Operation al-Fajr, which started on Nov. 8, 2004.
  • He first went to Afghanistan in 1999. He trained and lectured other militants.
  • He is believed to have met Zarqawi at the al-Farouk camp in Afgahnistan in 2001 or 2002.
  • As of June 2006, he has had recent communications with Ayman al-Zawahiri.
  • Shortly following Zarqawi's death, militant web sites identified Abu Hamza al-Muhajer as the successor to Zarqawi. Military officials say the believe he is the same as Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
  • Al-Muhajer means 'the immigrant' - possibly an attempt to make a non-Iraqi more palatable to Iraqis in the insurgency.
  • American military officials suggested there was some uncertainty whether he could exert full control over al-Qaeda and other groups in Iraq, and have wondered if others - such as Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Iraqi or Abdullah bin Rashid - may try to assume authority.1,3,4
  • Abu Ayyub al-Masri was reported killed around Oct. 3, 2006, and again around May 1, 2007. Al-Qaida denied he was killed, and U.S. authorities have not confirmed his death.
    1 U.S. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman, Multinational Force Iraq, during a press briefing on June 8, 2006.
    2 U.S. Central Command press release, 'Iraqi Interim Government announces arrest warrants, award information.' Feb. 11, 2005.
    3 Caldwell, press briefing, June 9, 2006.
    4 Caldwell, press briefing, June 15, 2006.
    5 Rewards for Justice page.
    Photos (left to right): Rewards for Justice; Rewards for Justice
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    Page last modified: 14-05-2007 12:14:59 ZULU