Pakistan Military Kills Top al Qaeda Operative Involved In New City Subway Bomb Plot
Pakistani soldiers killed a top al Qaeda operative Saturday morning (Pakistan time) — who had previously been indicted in the U.S. — for his alleged involvement in a plot to bomb New York City’s subway system. Munir Ahmed, writing in the Christian Science Monitor called the death a major blow for al Qaeda; and, a major achievement for the Pakistani military. al Qaeda operative Adnan Shukrijumah, was killed along with two other suspected militants in Pakistan’s south Waziristan tribal area early Saturday. Five other suspected al Qaeda militants are reportedly in the custody of Pakistani authorities and are undergoing questioning. South Waziristan is part of the mountainous territory bordering Afghanistan that is home to various groups fighting both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mr. Ahmed wrote.
Shukrijumah was the head of al Qaeda’s External Operations; and the 39yr. old had served as the replacement for Kalid Sheikh Mohammad, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attack. The FBI had listed Shukrijumah, a Saudi national, as a “most wanted” terrorist and the U.S. State Department had offered up to $5M reward for his capture.
Mr. Adnan writes that after September 11, “Shukijumah was seen as one of al Qaeda’s best chances to attack inside the U.S., or Europe. Shukijumah studied computer science and chemistry at a community college in Florida; and is thought to be the only al Qaeda leader to have once held a U.S. green card. He lived in Miramar, Flroida, with his mother and five siblings.”
This indeed is a major blow to al Qaeda. Shukijumah was considered a master at disguise and was highly valued for his technical expertise, knowledge of computers and social media, and a key operational tactician for the group. This raid also raises as many questions as it answers. Clearly, the Pakistanis have developed a decent intelligence collection apparatus in south Waziristan — and, somehow found the wherewithal to maintain mission integrity and prevent any forewarning or leak that could have tipped off Shikijumah. V/R, RCP