Al Qaeda leader Qari Yasin killed in US air strike in Afghanistan, say officials | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Al Qaeda leader Qari Yasin killed in US air strike in Afghanistan, say officials

“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement.

world Updated: Mar 26, 2017 20:46 IST
Yashwant Raj
Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, (rear to front) AF-2, AF-3 and AF-4, flies over Edwards Air Force Base in this December 10, 2011 handout photo provided by Lockheed Martin.
Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, (rear to front) AF-2, AF-3 and AF-4, flies over Edwards Air Force Base in this December 10, 2011 handout photo provided by Lockheed Martin. (REUTERS)

United States military said on Saturday it had killed a Pakistani-born top al Qaeda operative behind the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad in 2008 and the attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009, after which most cricket-playing nations stopped touring Pakistan.

Depending on the extent of his role in the 2009 attack Qari Yasin, the operative, could be the man responsible with accomplices for Pakistan’s isolation in the world cricketing community, as a host. It hasn’t had any international side since, and plays others on their home ground or at third-party venues.

In a statement announcing Yasin’s death, the Pentagon described him as “responsible” for the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Three men suspected of involvement in the same attack were killed by Pakistani police in Lahore in August, 2016. And an alleged mastermind Qari Ajmal was killed in Afghanistan, in the same province as Yasin, Paktika.

Yasin was killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan’s restive Paktika province on March 19, the US department of defense said in a statement. “The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” secretary of defense Jim Mattis said, reflecting the importance the US was attaching to the operative’s killing.

The Pentagon called Yasin a senior terrorist figure from Balochistan, Pakistan with ties to Tehrik-e Taliban. Among the attacks he had “plotted” was the Marriott Hotel bombing in September 2008.

A truck packed with explosives had been blow up outside the hotel on the night of September 20 killing 54 people and injuring at least 266. The victims, majority of whom were Pakistanis, included 2 Americans — both military personnel.

The bombing was featured in a movie about the 2011 US SEALs operation that found and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Zero Dark Thirty, which was said to be based on an account of the operation provided by the Obama administration.

The Pentagon statement gave no details of Yasin’s precise role in the bombing, but called him a plotter.

About the attack on the Sri Lanka team, the Pentagon agave no details once again. And his links to the three killed in 2016, if at all, could not be confirmed either, or to Ajmal, the alleged mastermind.

Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed and six members of the team were injured, Mahela Jayawaredene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas.

A convey of buses and security vehicles carrying them to the stadium for the third day of a Test match was attacked by 10 terrorists armed with AK-47 assault rifles and explosives, who had then escaped in autorickshaws, accordint to reports.

Reuters said authorities in Pakistan had offered a bounty of 2 million rupees ($19,000) for Yasin, saying he was involved in the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus, allegedly carried out by militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.