Ilyas Kashmiri, an Al Qaeda-linked operative blamed for many high-profile attacks in Pakistan and India, was killed in South Waziristan, say news reports and an announcement by his militant organization. Analysts had labeled Kashmiri a doable Osama bin Laden successor.
An overnight attack by an unmanned aircraft killed Ilyas Kashmiri, an Al Qaeda-linked operative blamed for many high-profile attacks in Pakistan and India, native news reports and an announcement by his banned militant organization said Saturday.
If borne out, this may be the second major U.S. anti-terrorism coup in fast succession following the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden early last month by Navy SEALs. Analysts had identified Kashmiri as a doable Bin Laden successor.
"This is incredibly excellent news, particularly on the heels of the Bin Laden" killing, said Talat Masood, a security analyst and former Pakistani lieutenant general. "He’s a awfully necessary leader who played havoc with the region."
Shoaib Khan, an assistant political agent in South Waziristan, confirmed the killing at a compound in Ghwa Khwa village, adding that Kashmiri and eight alternative militants were buried in an exceedingly native graveyard. A senior tribal space official said separately that multiple sources had confirmed Kashmiri was dead.
That said, it’s notoriously tough to corroborate the victims of drone attacks, reportedly one in every of the explanations President Obama determined to launch a manned assault on Bin Laden’s compound within the Pakistani town of Abbottabad despite the added risk.
This is notably true when the strikes occur in isolated border areas, together with South Waziristan, where Friday’s late night attack occurred. several senior militants are "killed" repeatedly — together with Kashmiri, whose death was reported in September 2009 — solely to show up alive some weeks or months later.
"We ensure that our emir [leader] and commander in chief, Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, along side alternative companions, was martyred in an yank drone strike on June three, 2011, at 11:15 p.m.," Abu Hanzla Kashir, who identified himself as a spokesman for Kashmiri’s Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami cluster, said in an exceedingly statement faxed to a Pakistani tv station.
"God willing … America can terribly soon see our full revenge," it added. "Our solely target is America."
The statement’s authenticity couldn’t be immediately verified.
Separately, Pakistan security forces reported killing twenty six Islamist militants on Saturday when they crossed over from Afghanistan within the fourth day of fighting near the border.
Kashmiri, who had a $5-million U.S. bounty on his head, was thought-about one in every of Pakistan’s most dangerous, strategic and capable militants, suspected of serving to organize last month’s assault on the Mehran naval base within the southern port town of Karachi and also the 2008 attack on the Indian town of Mumbai that killed 163 folks.
Both operations concerned little groups of well-trained and committed attackers who held their targets for an extended amount, sowing destruction and garnering widespread media attention.
According to Pakistan officers who asked to not be identified, the U.S. fired 3 missiles at the Ghwa Khwa compound located regarding ten miles from South Waziristan’s largest city of Wana, hanging 2 rooms where the boys were staying. The compound belongs to a tribesman identified as Mir Ajam Khan with links to native militant teams.
The BBC, that was initial to report his death, said Kashmiri had recently came back from elsewhere within the tribal areas.
Analysts warned that Kashmiri’s death, if confirmed, may spark reprisals. "This is nice news," said Javed Hussain, a security analyst, former brigadier and special forces commander. "But there are such a lot of vulnerable military locations in Pakistan. I expect a lot of attacks on military targets and yank sites. He supposedly had a awfully long reach, and it is a ruthless organization."
The U.S. as a policy does not acknowledge specific drone attacks or their meant targets. The drone program is extremely controversial here owing to civilians killed accidently within the attacks and also the widely held read in Pakistan that the unmanned aircraft are a serious violation of national sovereignty.
That said, Kashmiri’s reported killing may facilitate ease the tensions witnessed between the U.S. and Pakistan since the Bin Laden killing, providing he is high on each countries’ wished lists.
The operation conjointly may blunt criticism in intelligence and military circles here that the U.S. selfishly follows its own agenda while not a lot of regard for Pakistan’s national interest or native political fallout. this may be notably true if it seems that Pakistan provided intelligence on his whereabouts, as looks possible.
"I assume it is a superb sign," said Masood, the previous lieutenant general. "It shows what quantity is achieved. it is also sensible for India-Pakistan relations since he was a sworn enemy of each countries."
However, if Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami militants respond by stepping up attacks within the disputed region of Kashmir, claimed by each India and Pakistan, relations between 2 South Asia nations may deteriorate additional, alternative analysts discovered.
Kashmiri started his militant career operating for the Pakistani army coaching Afghan mujahedin fighters, then lost a watch within the Nineteen Eighties fighting against the Russians in Afghanistan.
"Once the war was over, he became jobless," said Hussain, the analyst. "He solely knew one factor, the way to fight."
Turning his attentions west, he became one thing of an area hero when escaping from an Indian jail for serving to Kashmir-based militants attack India.
Kashmiri broke with the Pakistan government, however, when Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami was banned by then-President Pervez Musharraf following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In 2005, he was arrested on suspicion of involvement in an exceedingly 2003 assassination try against Musharraf however was subsequently released for lack of proof.