Courtesy of Centcom
Release Number: 07-01-03P
BAGHDAD– One of the terrorists killed in Tarmiyah Nov. 5 has been positively identified as Tha’ir Malik.
Tha’ir Malik was the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader for the Tarmiyah sector of the northern belt. Reports indicate Malik was previously involved in a terrorist group that conducted attacks against Iraqi citizens for not following Taliban-like rules.
During the operation, surveillance elements observed Malik operating in the area and supporting aircraft was called to strike the time-sensitive target. Secondary explosions erupted from the building, indicating that weapons and ammunition were stored inside. As Coalition forces cleared the surrounding area, they discovered two terrorists believed to be killed by the initial blast to include Malik, small arms ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades. The target building ignited from the secondary explosions, preventing the ground force from assessing the building’s interior.
Malik was a subordinate of Abu Ghazwan, the al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leader of the northern belt and direct associate of Abu Ayyub al-Masri. Reports indicate that as Coalition forces operations captured al-Qaeda in Iraq elements in Tarmiyah, many of the northern belt leadership were forced out, but Malik remained and was promoted to military emir of the northern belt network. He was allegedly in charge of as many as 120 individuals and directed a variety of operations, including kidnapping, car-jackings, extortion, and attacks on Coalition and Iraqi security forces, and members of the Awakening. The previous AQI military leader for the Northern Belts who Malik replaced was killed as a result of Coalition Force operations last August.
“This was a dangerous terrorist who is no longer part of the al-Qaeda in Iraq network,” said Maj. Winfield Danielson, MNF-I spokesman. “We will continue to relentlessly pursue the terrorist leaders and their replacements who plan to deny the Iraqi people a future of their choice.”