I went looking through our archives to count the number of false alarms there’d been about these filthbags over the years, but got depressed at the sheer volume and gave up. Here’s one from March 2007, when Hot Air was less than a year old.

MNF-Iraq says it’s for real. Long time coming.

Two leaders of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq have been killed in an airstrike carried out by American troops, Iraqi and U.S. officials announced Monday.

The deaths of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq is known, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the alias of the head of an umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq, should disrupt insurgent attacks inside the country, officials said. Their slayings could also provide Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with a decisive political boost at a critical time…

The Saturday night raid was carried out a few miles southwest of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town, U.S. officials said, after a series of Iraqi-led operations led to a safe house used by the insurgent leaders. An American soldier was killed during the operation when a helicopter crashed.

Masri and Baghdadi were killed after “engaging the security team,” the U.S. military said. Maliki said their bodies were found in a ditch. “We have found a lot of documents and hand-written letters” that implicated the men, the prime minister added.

Among the documents and letters recovered, according to Maliki, were communications to the two from Osama Bin Laden. Special thanks to Ace for reminding me on this occasion of one of the left’s favorite anti-war talking points of yesteryear, namely, that “Al Qaeda in Iraq” was wildly overhyped by Bush and the media and never had much to do with the “real” Al Qaeda in the first place. Never mind that the LA Times reported in early 2007 that the “real” Al Qaeda’s operations were increasingly being funded by its Iraqi franchise. Never mind that a 2007 NIE warned that the “real” Al Qaeda would “probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate,” for an attack on the U.S. Never mind that one of Bin Laden’s top deputies, Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, was a liaison to AQI and was captured by the CIA en route to — ta da — Iraq. If the public believed the “real” Al Qaeda was afoot inside the country, they’d be more likely to support the war, and we couldn’t have that — at least, not until there was a Democrat in the White House. So for your viewing pleasure, here’s the very Democratic vice president of the United States proudly announcing that the leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq (it’s okay to say it now!) have at long last gotten their just desserts and that it is indeed, contra leftist dogma circa 2007, a big f***ing deal.