Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Alexis Tsipras, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, European Left Party

Read more

FOCUS

'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Fascist finger-pointing

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A sad day for French rap

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Kim Jong-un loves Swiss cheese

Read more

DEBATE

Fatah-Hamas Talks: Towards a United Palestinian Front? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Fatah-Hamas Talks: Towards a United Palestinian Front?

Read more

LIFESTYLES

New smart devices

Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

  • French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal has died, Islamists say

    Read more

  • 'Pope-mania' hits John Paul II's Polish hometown

    Read more

  • French actress Catherine Deneuve to sell €4 million château

    Read more

  • Chelsea, Atletico draw 0-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch offensive in the east after politican 'tortured'

    Read more

  • Echoes of 2pac and Biggie? French rap feud turns violent

    Read more

  • New French film tackles grisly anti-Semitic murder

    Read more

  • Photos link ‘little green men’ in Ukraine to Russian troops

    Read more

  • New anti-radicalisation plans aimed at fighting jihadism

    Read more

  • David Moyes sacked by Man United after just 10 months

    Read more

  • Hollande facing mounting pressure over Syrian refugees

    Read more

  • US probes new claims of chemical weapons use in Syria

    Read more

  • Islamist militants kill second Somali lawmaker in 24 hours

    Read more

  • Court orders US to release memos on drone strikes

    Read more

  • ‘I suffered mock executions,’ says freed French journalist

    Read more

  • S. Sudan rebels massacre hundreds in key town, says UN

    Read more

Asia-pacific

US drone kills key al Qaeda militant, reports say

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-04

A US drone strike in Pakistan's restive South Waziristan has killed senior al Qaeda operative Ilyas Kashmiri, a Pakistani intelligence official said Saturday. Kashmiri was on a US list of most-wanted militants.

REUTERS - A U.S. drone has killed a senior al Qaeda figure in Pakistan after a tip off from local intelligence, a Pakistani intelligence official said on Saturday.

The elimination of Ilyas Kashmiri appeared to be another coup for the United States after American special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a town close to Islamabad on May 2.

Pakistan’s cooperation in the killing could help repair ties with Washington, badly damaged when it was discovered that bin Laden had apparently been living close to a Pakistani military base for years.

“We are sure that he (Kashmiri) has been killed. Now we are trying to retrieve the bodies. We want to get photographs of the bodies,” said the Pakistani intelligence official.

Kashmiri was wrongly reported to have been killed in a September 2009 strike by a U.S. drone.

A Pakistani television station quoted the group Kashmiri headed, Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) which is allied to al Qaeda, as saying the latest report was true.

“We confirm that our Amir (leader) and commander in chief, Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, along with other companions, was martyred in an American drone strike on June 3, 2011, at 11:15 p.m.,” Abu Hanzla Kashir, who identified himself as a HUJI spokesman, said in a statement faxed to the station.

“God willing ... America will very soon see our full revenge. Our only target is America.”

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

Kashmiri and other militants were with an Afghan Taliban member involved in liaison with the Pakistani Taliban when the drone missile struck, said the intelligence official.

He said they were in a house in South Waziristan, close to the Afghan border in northwest Pakistan, that was believed to be the headquarters of Kashmiri’s group, which has been described as an operational wing of al Qaeda.

“We were closing in on him and he switched off his satellite phone and cellphone and he wanted to cross the border to Afghanistan to find a hiding place,” the official added. “It was a tipoff by us since we were closely monitoring his movements.”

Five of his close allies were also killed in the attack by a pilotless drone aircraft, along with two other militants, intelligence officials said.

US asked Pakistan to go after Kashmiri

The killing of bin Laden aroused international suspicions that Pakistani authorities had been complicit in hiding him, and led to domestic criticism of them for failing to detect or stop the U.S. team that killed him.

Kashmiri was on a list which the United States gave Pakistan of senior militants it wanted killed or captured, said a Pakistani official.

Drone strikes have increased under the Obama administration, sometimes killing civilians and fuelling anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.

While Pakistani leaders publicly criticise drone strikes, analysts say killing high-value targets like Kashmiri would not be possible without Pakistani intelligence.

Washington called on Pakistan to crack down harder on militancy after it was discovered that bin Laden had been living about two hours by car from Islamabad. Pakistan is heavily dependent on billions of dollars of U.S. aid.

The U.S. Department of State has labelled Kashmiri a “specially designated global terrorist”.

Last year, the U.S. attorney’s office quoted a Chicago taxi driver charged with sending money to Kashmiri as saying the Pakistani militant had told him he “wanted to train operatives to conduct attacks in the United States”.

Kashmiri battled Soviet occupation troops in the 1980s in Afghanistan, where he lost an eye. His group also fought Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region.

H

e has been linked to attacks including the 2008 rampage through the Indian city of Mumbai which killed 166 people.

The Pakistani media has speculated that Kashmiri was the mastermind of an attack on the PNS Mehran naval base in Karachi last month which humiliated the Pakistani military.

In that operation, up to six militants held off 100 security forces, including commandos, for 16 hours.

 

Date created : 2011-06-04

  • PAKISTAN - AFGHANISTAN

    Hundreds of Taliban besiege Pakistani checkpoint

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Taliban claims suicide attack on Pakistani police

    Read more

  • TERRORISM

    US urges Pakistan to probe bin Laden ‘support network’

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)