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Osama wanted Illyas Kashmiri to target Obama and Petraeus

world Updated: May 03, 2012 23:36 IST

Osama bin Laden had planned to kill US President Barack Obama and General David Petraeus, who then was the top US commander in Afghanistan, and had issued instructions to Illyas Kashmiri to set up two units to target planes carrying them.

According to the documents seized from the Abbottabad safe-house of bin Laden, where he was killed by US forces about a year ago, the then al-Qaeda leader wanted to target only Obama and Petraeus.

Some of these documents were released by the Combating Terrorism Center (CTS) at West Point today.

"Bin Ladin had asked Atiyya's predecessor, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, to task Ilyas, presumably Ilyas Kashmiri, to set up two units, one in Pakistan and another in Bagram, Afghanistan, to target airplanes known to be carrying President Obama and/or General Petraeus on their visits to these areas.

"He only wanted President Obama and General Petraeus to be targeted," CTC said in its report.

He explained that the death of President Obama would see the "utterly unprepared" Vice President Joe Biden automatically assume the presidency, which would cause the US to enter into crisis mode, and "the killing of Petraeus would have a serious impact on the course of the war," as bin Ladin considered him to be "the man of this (critical) phase", CTC said based on the analysis of these documents.

Bin Laden did not explain, however, why he did not want "Secretary of Defense (Robert) Gates or the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Admiral Mike) Mullen or the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan (Richard) Holbrooke" to be targeted.