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Pakistan says top al Qaeda militant killed in raid

Tariq Mahmood, AFP I A Pakistani man holds a match box with picture of Adnan Shukrijumah after the US government announced a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Pakistan’s military said Saturday that soldiers killed al Qaeda’s chief of global operations, a man indicted in the US over a plot to bomb New York’s subways, during a raid in the lawless tribal region of South Waziristan.

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Adnan Shukrijumah and two other suspected militants were killed in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal area early Saturday, the military said.

“In an intelligence borne operation, top al Qaeda leader Adnan el Shukrijumah was killed by [the] Pakistan Army in an early morning raid in Shinwarsak, South Waziristan, today,” the military said in a statement. The remote region borders Afghanistan.

“His accomplice and local facilitator were also killed in the raid,” the statement added.

Shukrijumah, who had a Guyanese passport, is the most senior al Qaeda member ever killed by the Pakistani military. He held a position that once belonged to Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The FBI listed the Saudi national as a “most wanted” terrorist and had offered up to a $5 million reward for his capture.

Federal prosecutors in the US allege Shukrijumah had recruited three men in 2008 to receive training in the lawless tribal region of Pakistan for the attack. The New York indictment links him to the Manhattan plot and a similar never-executed scheme to attack British subways.

Attorney General Eric Holder has called that plot one of the most dangerous since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Shukrijumah was seen as one of al Qaeda’s best chances to attack inside the US or Europe, captured terrorist Abu Zubaydah told US authorities. Shukrijumah studied at a community college in Florida but when the FBI showed up to arrest him as a material witness to a terrorism case in 2003, he had already left the country.

In 2004, then Attorney General John Ashcroft called Shukrijumah a “clear and present danger” to the United States.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)
 

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