Ilyas Kashmiri killed in US drone strike: BBC Urdu
Al Qaeda-linked terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri, a key suspect in the Mumbai attacks, was among nine militants killed in a US drone strike, BBC reported today, quoting residents of South Waziristan tribal region. Kashmiri was the chief of the Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI), an organisation affiliated with al Qaeda. Who is Ilyas Kashmiri?Updated: Jun 04, 2011 16:52 IST
Al Qaeda-linked terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri, a key suspect in the Mumbai attacks, was among nine militants killed in a US drone strike, BBC reported on Saturday, quoting residents of South Waziristan tribal region.
The US drones targeted a location 20 km from Wana, one of the main towns in South Waziristan late last night.
A drone fired two missiles at the spot and two more missiles were fired after a short interval, local residents were quoted as saying by BBC Urdu.
The local residents said Kashmiri was among the nine militants killed in the drone strike.
Three others were injured in the attack.
A government official in Peshawar confirmed the drone strike to BBC but said there was no confirmation of Kashmiri's death.
Other officials said all the dead militants were Punjabi Taliban.
The report said Kashmiri came to Wana from the Khyber tribal region 10 days ago and moved to the area where the drone strike was carried out last night.
Asked by media persons in Multan about reports of Kashmiri's death in the drone strike, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said, "I do not have any information now."
Local residents said the dead militants had been buried in a graveyard in the area.
The US recently gave Pakistan time till July – the month when NATO and allied forces will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan – to launch a military offensive in North Waziristan tribal region and to capture five most wanted al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, including Kashmiri.
The other terrorists on the US list are Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani and Atia Abdur Rehman.
Reports have said the US and Pakistan have formed joint intelligence teams to track down these terrorists.
Kashmiri, the head of the banned Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, has been linked to several major terror attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai strikes and the recent Taliban raid on the PNS Mehran naval airbase in Karachi.
This is not the first time that there have been reports of Kashmiri's death in a drone strike.
He was reported killed in an attack by a US spy plane in North Waziristan in September 2009 but re-emerged a month later to give an interview to Syed Saleem Shahzad, the journalist who was recently abducted and murdered.
Kashmiri, a man described as No 3 in the al Qaeda hierarchy in Pakistan.
Born in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Kashmiri is believed to have served with the Special Services Group of the Pakistan army before going over to the other side.
He now heads the 313 Brigade, military wing of the al Qaeda in Pakistan, "deriving its name from the 313 soldiers who stood with Prophet Muhammad at the decisive Battle of Badr in 624 AD".
First Published: Jun 04, 2011 13:21 IST