Saturday, June 4, 2011

Top Pakistani militant Ilyas Kashmiri reported killed in US drone attack

Ilyas Kashmiri, a top Pakistani militant and senior Al Qaeda operative, reportedly has been killed in a US drone strike in the tribal territory of South Waziristan, according to press reports and a statement from the group he headed.
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Kashmiri is believed to be behind some of the deadliest attacks in India and Pakistan, including a 2009 suicide attack on Pakistan’s spy agency and attacks on US forces in Afghanistan.

He is the operations chief of a group called Harakut-ul Jihad Islami, which has some 3,000 militia members and is classified by the US as a terrorist organization tied to Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Punjabi Taliban.

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A Newsweek profile headlined “Is Ilyas Kashmiri the New Bin Laden?” said he “has the experience, the connections, and a determination to attack the West – including the United States—that make him the most dangerous Qaeda operative to emerge in years.”

A Pakistani intelligence official said Kashmiri was among nine militants killed in the strike. While identifying individuals killed in such attacks can be difficult, a fax from the militant group he was heading – Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami's "313 Brigade" – confirmed Kashmiri was "martyred" in the strike.

Described by U.S. officials as Al Qaeda's military operations chief in Pakistan, he was one,to continue:

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