Ilyas Kashmiri speaks at a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan on July 11, 2001. (Photo: Saeed Khan, AFP / Getty Images)It is being reported that one of Al Qaeda's top operational leaders, Ilyas Kashmiri, was killed yesterday along with his entourage by Hellfire rockets from a U.S. Drone.
A local journalist says he has been told by Taliban sources in the area that Kashmiri and up to nine other men were drinking tea in an apple orchard yesterday where the missiles struck, killing them all. His militant group, the Harkatul-Jihad al-Islami, which is also known as the 313 Brigade, quickly acknowledged his death. A man named Abu Hanzala who claims to be a member of Kashmiri’s terror outfit sent out a fax today confirming that Kashmiri was “martyred” last night (11:15 local time) in a drone attack. “God willing, the Pharaoh of our times, America, will soon see our strong avenging response. Our enemy is only America.” Two years ago he was also reported to have been killed in a Predator strike, but he surfaced soon afterward, disproving the reports. But clearly not this time.American sources are being cautious because they have not been able to confirm the death. And it was falsely reported two years ago that he was killed in a drone attack.
If true, this is a really big deal. Kashmiri was a major commando leader who was instrumental in the planning of the Mumbai attacks as was reported to be planning similar attacks in the US and Europe. One of Kashmiri's targets was said to be the Chairman of Lockheed Martin who, ironically, manufactures the drones that are the scourge of global terrorist networks.