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U.S./World

Plotter in hotel raid ID'd, killed

| Friday, July 1, 2011

KABUL -- The U.S.-led military coalition on Thursday blamed a notorious Pakistan-based terrorist group for this week's spectacular assault on a hilltop Kabul hotel and said it had killed one of the group's senior commanders, who was suspected of involvement in the attack.

The International Security Assistance Force didn't say how it had determined that the Haqqani network was responsible for the siege Tuesday night at the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel, which left 10 civilians, two policemen and all nine assailants dead.

But it said a senior Haqqani commander, Ismail Khan, was suspected of providing material support for the assault, and that he and several other Haqqani fighters had been killed on Wednesday in a "precision airstrike," only hours after Afghan police had retaken control of the hotel.

"The Haqqani network, in conjunction with Taliban operatives, was responsible for the Tuesday night attack on the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel which killed 12 people, including a provincial judge," the ISAF statement said..

Meanwhile, Afghan officials announced yesterday that they'd assume security responsibilities in seven provinces and cities, including Kabul, beginning July 14.

The quick schedule for the transition -- previous announcements had suggested it wouldn't begin till later in July -- seemed designed to put to rest any suggestion that Tuesday's assault would delay the handover.

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