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Jun 5th, 2011

U.S. Strike Kills Top al-Qaida Operative in Pakistan

Ilyas Kashmiri was among 9 militants killed in drone attack


Key al-Qaida figure reportedly killed (NBC News, June 4, 2011)A drone strike in Pakistan has reportedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri, who is said to be a possible successor to Osama bin Laden as al-Qaida’s top commander. Kashmiri has also been connected to planning the 2008 massacre in Mumbai, India, which killed over 160 people. NBC’s Brian Mooar reports. (01:07)

June 4, 2011

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A top al-Qaida commander and possible replacement for Osama bin Laden was killed in an American drone-fired missile strike close to the Afghan border, a militant group and Pakistani officials said Saturday.

Ilyas Kashmiri’s apparent death is another blow to al-Qaida just over a month after bin Laden was killed by American commandos in a northwest Pakistani army town. Described by U.S. officials as al-Qaida’s military operations chief in Pakistan, the 47-year-old Pakistani was one of five most-wanted militant leaders in the country, accused of a string of bloody attacks in South Asia, including the 2008 Mumbai massacre, as well as aiding plots in the West. Washington had offered a $5 million bounty for information leading to his location. [links added]

His death was not confirmed publicly by the United States or Pakistani officials. …

But a fax from the militant group he was heading — Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami’s feared “313 Brigade” — confirmed Kashmiri was “martyred” in the strike at 11:15 p.m. Friday in South Waziristan tribal region. It was sent to journalists in Peshawar.

“God willing, America, which is the ‘pharaoh’ of this, will soon see a revenge attack, and our real target is America,” it said. The statement was handwritten written on a white page bearing name of the group, which has not previously communicated with the media. [link added]

Said to be blind in one eye and missing a finger, Kashmiri was one of the country’s most accomplished — and vicious — militants. He fought with jihadi fighters in Afghanistan and in Indian-held Kashmir in the 1990s and was so close to al-Qaida’s central command that he had been mentioned as a contender for replacing bin Laden, though many analysts thought the fact that he was not an Arab meant he was unlikely to get the post. [link added]

Indian officials have alleged he was involved in the 2008 Mumbai siege that killed more than 160 people. He has also been named a defendant in an American court over a planned attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. [link added]

Kashmiri has most recently been linked to last month’s 18-hour assault on a naval base in Karachi. He is also accused of masterminding several bloody raids on Pakistan police and intelligence buildings in 2009 and 2010, as well as a failed assassination attempt against then-President Pervez Musharraf in 2003. [links added]

The U.S Department of State says he organized a 2006 suicide bombing against the U.S. consulate in Karachi that killed four people, including an American diplomat.

American drones began firing missiles at al-Qaida and Taliban targets along the border in 2005, but the attacks picked up pace in 2008 and have have risen in frequency ever since. [links added]

Opposition to the strikes grew this year after a CIA contractor shot and killed two Pakistanis in the street, triggering ever more intense anti-American anger. After the bin Laden raid, which was seen by many here as an outrageous violation of the country’s sovereignty, the parliament issued a declaration calling for the attacks to end. [link added]

The United States does not acknowledge the CIA-run program, though its officials have confirmed the death of high-value targets before, including the head of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, in 2009 — a strike welcomed by many Pakistan officials because he too was a sworn enemy of the country. [link added]

Full story


Related reports on this site

Osama bin Laden’s Successor, Interim Operational Leader Named (May 18, 2011)

Osama bin Laden Dead (May 1, 2011)

Pakistan Guerrilla War Has Begun (Oct. 15, 2009)

Bloody Siege at Pakistan Military Headquarters (Oct. 8, 2009)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — June 5, 2010

Michele Bachmann’s St. Cloud Tea Party

blog post photo
“Liberate America — Say No to Socialism!” Poster displayed at a Tea Party rally organized by the Republican Party at Lake George, St. Cloud, Minn., Friday, June 4, 2010. (Photo: Aubrey Immelman)

One year ago today, I reported that an estimated 200 people attended a Tea Party rally at Lake George in St. Cloud, Minn., organized by the local Republican Party. It featured Republican office holders, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, state and local Republican candidates, and rightwing bloggers.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — June 5, 2009

David Carradine’s Autoerotic Death

David Carradine was the star of the 1970s TV series,
David Carradine (Photo: Getty Images / CNN)

Two years ago, on June 5, 2009, I reported that initial reports regarding the circumstances surrounding actor David Carradine’s death led me to suspect it was likely the result of a tragic accident, namely a botched case of autoerotic asphyxiation.

4 Responses to “Top al-Qaida Commander Killed”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Eulogy for bin Laden Says:

    […] Top al-Qaida Commander Killed (June 5, 2011) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Osama bin Laden’s Successor, Interim Operational Leader Named Says:

    […] Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 at his home in Pakistan. Just a month later, Ilyas Kashmiri, an al-Qaida leader sought in the 2008 Mumbai siege and rumored to be a longshot choice to succeed bin Laden, was reportedly killed in a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan. […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Ayman Al-Zawahiri Succeeds Osama bin Laden as al-Qaida Leader Says:

    […] Top al-Qaida Commander Killed (June 5, 2011) […]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Al-Qaida’s No. 2 Leader Killed in Obama Drone Strike Says:

    […] Top al-Qaida Commander Killed (June 5, 2011) […]

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