Iraq: al Qaeda dealt a stunning blow This news from Iraq, via the Jawa Report. Coalition forces in Iraq have delivered a series of stunning blows to al Qaeda in Iraq in the last 48 hours. A key aide to Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the man who replaced Abu Musab al Zarqawi as the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, has been captured south of Baghdad. As A.J. Strata notes, the trail to the al Qaeda leader is fresh: the captured aide admitted to meeting with al Masri yesterday. Since Taji is north of Baghdad, these two al Qaeda IED cell leaders captured by the U.S. in West Taji are not the same as those above. That's four al Qaeda leaders captured. But four is such a lonely number. A facilitator of foreign fighters was captured by the Iarqi Army on the Syrian border. And foreign fighters tend to mean al Qaeda. Not to be outdone by the IA, the U.S. struck two houses where foreign fighters had gathered---13 jihadis dead. An "individual" associated with foreign fighter facilitation was in the targeted area. But wait, that's not all. Coalition Forces conducted an air strike Wednesday targeting an al-Qaida in Iraq-related vehicle-borne improvised explosives devices network near Arab Jabour. Intelligence reports indicated that this network is responsible for a large and devastating number of VBIED attacks in the Baghdad area. They are also responsible for IED and sniper attacks conducted against the Iraqi people and Iraqi and Coalition Forces. Building destroyed, everyone inside presumably dead. And another terrorist was captured in Taji. In addition to leading a bombing cell, he is also believed to be involved in taking Iraqis hostage and murdering them. Which would mean that he is either al Qaeda or one of the related organizations under the umbrella of the "Islamic State of Iraq". So, we have 6 al Qaeda leaders captured, and possibly dozens more killed. All in the last 48 hours. CENTCOM has details: Coalition Forces conducted an air strike Wednesday targeting an al-Qaida in Iraq-related vehicle-borne improvised explosives devices network near Arab Jabour. Intelligence reports indicated that this network is responsible for a large and devastating number of VBIED attacks in the Baghdad area. They are also responsible for IED and sniper attacks conducted against the Iraqi people and Iraqi and Coalition Forces. As Coalition Forces approached the targeted building they came under intense enemy fire. Ground forces assessed seven suspected terrorists were in the targeted building. Coalition Forces determined the targets too hostile for ground troops and called for air support. Two precision guided munitions were dropped destroying the targeted building and an associated structure. Coalition Forces continue to tear apart the al-Qaida leadership inside Iraq. This operation significantly reduces this VBIED terrorist network's ability to operate, and increases the safety of all Iraqi citizens, Iraqi forces, and Iraq's Multi-National partners. And more: Coalition Forces killed an estimated 13 terrorists during an air strike Thursday morning targeting a senior foreign fighter facilitator northeast of Amiriya. Intelligence reports indicated an individual associated with foreign fighter facilitation was in the targeted area. During the operation, Coalition Forces detained five suspected terrorists and found a cache including armor piercing ammunition. Information gained from the target area led Coalition Forces to two suspected foreign fighter safe houses where suspected terrorists were assembled. Coalition Forces observed the structures to confirm intelligence reports and engaged with precision guided munitions and rotary wing close air support, killing an estimated 13 terrorists. Coalition Forces continue to dismantle the foreign fighter networks. This operation significantly reduces foreign fighter facilitatorsâ ability to operate inside Iraq. And from MNF-I: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-- SUSPECTED SENIOR IED CELL LEADER DETAINED, TERRORIST SAFEHOUSE DESTROYED IN WEST TAJI BAGHDAD, Iraq â Coalition Forces detained two suspected terrorists believed to have ties to an al-Qaida improvised explosive device cell during a raid Wednesday morning in West Taji. Intelligence reports indicated one of the detainees has significant ties to a local IED cell and had connections to recent anti-Coalition Forces activities. Ground forces entered the targeted building and detained the two suspected terrorists without incident. Upon searching the house, ground forces found evidence of explosives material hidden inside the building and buried around the exterior. They also found several weapons and materials commonly used to make IEDs. In order to prevent the residence from being used for future sanctuary to terrorists, ground forces destroyed the building with strategically-placed charges. Before placing the charges, Ground forces escorted two women and nine children outside the house and to a neighborâs home in order to ensure their safety. ImageCoalition Forces are making progress dismantling the al-Qaida terrorist network inside Iraq. The capture of these detainees and the destruction of another terrorist sanctuary reduces the ability of the terrorist network to operate, and increases the safety of all Iraqi citizens, Iraqi forces and Iraqâs Multi-National partners.