Pakistan: U.S. drone kills senior al-Qaida leader
PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- A U.S. drone strike has killed a senior al-Qaida leader in Pakistan's tribal region near the Afghan border, Pakistani intelligence officials said, in the latest blow to the Islamic militant network.
Sheik Khalid bin Abdel Rehman al-Hussainan, who was also known as Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti, was killed when missiles slammed into a house Thursday near Mir Ali, one of the main towns in the North Waziristan tribal area, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Al-Kuwaiti appeared in many videos released by al-Qaida's media wing, Al-Sahab, and was presented as a religious scholar for the group.
Earlier this year, he replaced Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaida's second in command, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan in June, the intelligence officials said. Al-Libi was a key religious figure within al-Qaida and also a prominent militant commander.
Al-Kuwaiti appeared to be a less prominent figure and was not part of the U.S. State Department's list of most wanted terrorist suspects, as al-Libi had been.
Covert CIA drone strikes have killed a series of senior al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in Pakistan's tribal region over the past few years. But the attacks are controversial because the secret nature of the program makes it difficult to determine how many civilians are being killed.
Pakistani officials often criticize the strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty, which has helped make them extremely unpopular in the country. But senior Pakistani officials are known to have cooperated with strikes in the past, and many people believe they still do.
Al-Kuwaiti's wife and daughter were wounded in Thursday's drone attack, according to the intelligence officials. His wife died a day later at a hospital in Miran Shah, another main town in North Waziristan.
Al-Kuwaiti was buried in Tappi village near Mir Ali on Friday, the officials said.
A Pakistani Taliban commander who frequently visits North Waziristan told the Associated Press by telephone that he met some Arab fighters on Saturday who were "very aggrieved." The Arabs told him they lost a "big leader" in a drone strike, but would not reveal his name or his exact position in al-Qaida.
The Taliban commander spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of revealing his identity to the Pakistani government.
Al-Qaida's central leadership in Pakistan has been dealt a series of sharp blows in the past few years, including the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad last year. A significant number of senior al-Qaida leaders have also been killed in U.S. drone attacks in the country.
Many analysts believe the biggest threat now comes from al-Qaida franchises in places like Yemen and Somalia.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Prospect Taillon to undergo season-ending hernia surgery
- Fun-seekers won’t let a regatta without races get them down
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- The Word Guy: Can ‘real’ replace ‘really’ in talk or text?
- Rossi: Rutherford shines as old boss pouts
- Experts recommend checking your home’s deck frequently
- Police seeking light blue vehicle after Homestead shooting
- Former Jeannette coach held for trial on charges of assault on teen girls
- Iran tells U.S. to curtail ‘coercion’
- Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Tigers
- Penguins’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin