CIA director says Al Qaeda on the run as a leader killed in US drone strike
As CIA Director Leon Panetta said recent attacks have crippled Al Qaeda and its leadership, officials announced that a drone attack killed an Al Qaeda member involved in the December attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan.
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Agence France-Presse reports that the militant killed by a US unmanned aerial drone attack March 8 was Hussein Al-Yemeni, who specialized in bombs and directing suicide operations. He had played a “key role” in the attack on the CIA base on Dec. 30 that killed seven Americans, according to AFP’s source, a US counterterrorism official.
The US had stepped up drone strikes in Pakistan after the attack on the CIA base, and some intelligence officials had promised to exact vengeance on the planners, reports the Los Angeles Times, which says they appeared “elated” upon confirming Yemeni’s death.
The Times also reports that more than a dozen people were killed along with Mr. Yemeni in Miram Miram Shah, a city in northwest Pakistan’s North Waziristan province and a known stronghold of the Taliban and Taliban-allied militant groups such as the Haqqani network.
Read a Monitor briefing on the Haqqani network.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Yemeni, originally from Yemen, was among the top two dozen most-wanted Al Qaeda leaders, and was a “key intermediary” between Al Qaeda and the Haqqani network. He was a conduit for “funds, messages and recruits,” and also had ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the branch based in Yemen, reports the Times.