Iraq: Abu Ayyub al-Masri dead?

Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is reported to have been killed in an “internal battle” between militants in northern Baghdad, the Iraqi interior ministry has disclosed. United States officials have long speculated about rising tensions between al-Qaeda and native Sunni insurgents in the country. [BBC, May 1]

Members of the Sunni Accordance Front have revealed that they are considering leaving the Shi’ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, after growing frustration at the inaction and tardiness in addressing crucial Sunni Arab concerns. The bloc includes the vice president, and its withdrawal would severely impair the administration’s degree of civil representation. [Reuters, May 1]

Attacks against non-combatants almost doubled in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, and have also risen dramatically in Afghanistan, a US State Department report has revealed. [NYT, April 30]

From Security Briefs, May 1

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