PESHAWAR: According to a British media report, Ilyas Kashmiri, a Pakistani terrorist leader who has ties to al Qaeda, was among those killed in the latest drone strikes in South Waziristan.
BBCUrdu quoted locals as saying that Kashmiri was killed in the strike that killed at least nine suspected militants.
Kashmiri was the chief of the Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HJI), an organisation affiliated with al Qaeda. He is widely believed to have masterminded the attack on the PNS Mehran naval base in Karachi.
Senior al Qaeda operative Ilyas Kashmiri was regarded as one of the most dangerous militants in the world.
The death of the militant was another intelligence coup for the United States after U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a town close to Islamabad on May 2.
"We are sure that he was killed. Now we are trying to retrieve the bodies," a Pakistani intelligence official told Reuters. "We want to get photographs of the bodies.
It is not the first time reports of Kashmiri's death have surfaced. He was reported to have been killed in a September 2009 strike by a U.S. drone aircraft.
Local media said Kashmiri had been killed this time, citing the group that he heads that is allied with al Qaeda, Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI).
"We confirm that our Amir (leader) and commander in chief, Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, along with other companions, was martyred in an American drone strike on June 3, 2011, at 11:15 p.m.," Abu Hanzla Kashir, who identified himself as an HUJI spokesman, said in a statement faxed to the media.
"God willing ... America will very soon see our full revenge. Our only target is America."
The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.
HUJI was behind the March 2006 suicide bombing of the U.S. consulate in Karachi which killed four people and wounded 48, the U.S. State Department said.
Other intelligence officials said earlier that late on Friday night, a remotely piloted U.S. drone aircraft fired three missiles at a militant centre in the village of Shwkainary in South Waziristan, killing a total of eight militants, including five of Kashmiri's supporters.
The U.S. Department of State has labelled Kashmiri a "specially designated global terrorist", adding him to a list of high-profile militants.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Ilyas Kashmiri killed in drone raid: report
Posted by Junaid at 9:12 AM