Drone Strike Kills Top Pakistani Terrorist

Posted June 4th, 2011 at 4:20 pm (UTC-5)
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One of the most wanted terrorist leaders in Pakistan is dead, killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike.

Pakistani intelligence sources Saturday said that senior al-Qaida leader Ilyas Kashmiri died in an attack on a location in South Waziristan, along with eight other militants.

Kashmiri's own militant group, Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami , also confirmed his death in a fax to news organizations. HUJI said Kashmiri was “martyred” on Friday.

The United States had designated Kashmiri a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” and offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Intelligence officials regarded Kashmiri as one of the most dangerous and highly trained terrorist operatives. Pakistani officials suspected him of masterminding last month's attack on a naval base in Karachi, in which a handful of militants held off Pakistani forces for about 17 hours.

Officials have also tied Kashmiri to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people. And the U.S. blames Kashmiri's HUJI group for the March 2006 bombing of the U.S. consulate in Karachi that killed four people and wounded 48 others. A U.S. grand jury indicted Kashmiri in 2010 in connection with a plot to attack a Danish newspaper.

This is not the first time Pakistani officials have said Kashmiri was killed. They previously said he had been killed in a suspected drone strike in 2009.

HUJI vowed to take revenge against the U.S. for Kashmiri's death. His killing comes about a month after U.S. special forces entered Pakistan and killed al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden in his hideout near Islamabad.

Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered Saturday in Karachi to protest U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani soil.

The protesters, members of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, accused the U.S. of trying to expand its control over Pakistan.