U.S. Supposedly Kills #3 Al-CIAda .....Again

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:12am.

A top Al-Qaeda commander who led Osama bin Laden's terror network in Afghanistan was believed killed by a US airstrike on his hideout in a Pakistani tribal area, officials said Friday.


Abu Laith al-Libi is said to be one of bin Laden's key lieutenants and allegedly masterminded a deadly bombing at a US military base in Afghanistan during a visit by US Vice President Dick Cheney last year.

Pakistani security officials said he was one of 13 Al-Qaeda militants at a compound in the country's North Waziristan region when it was destroyed by a missile fired by a US Predator drone early on Tuesday.

"Al-Libi was there at the time of the strike. No one survived, we believe he was killed," one intelligence official based in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, told AFP.

Al-Libi was number five on a classified US Central Intelligence Agency wanted list seen by AFP, with a five-million-dollar bounty on his head. The top two spots are occupied by bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Islamist websites first announced the death of al-Libi, a Libyan militant who was named in earlier Al-Qaeda videos as a senior field commander in Afghanistan and linkman with Taliban insurgents.

"We announce the good news to the Islamic world: Sheikh Abu Laith al-Qassimi al-Libi has fallen a martyr on the soil of Muslim Pakistan," said an announcement on the Al-Fajr Information Centre site.

"The sheikh's martyrdom will only strengthen our fire and burn the enemies of our people," it said. "We tell the nation of unfaithfulness and the Crusader army that (the mujahedeen, or warriors) do not die but are killed" in battle.

Al-Libi was at a guesthouse attached to the home of a local Taliban commander, three kilometres (two miles) from Mir Ali, the second biggest town in North Waziristan, when the missile hit, Pakistani officials said.

Armed militants had prevented local tribesmen from attending the funerals of those killed, and were still blocking off the thickly forested blast site in a sign that a high-profile target was among the dead, they said.

The Taliban commander who owned the compound, 45-year-old Abdus Sattar, was loyal to one of Pakistan's most wanted men, Islamist tribal warlord Baitullah Mehsud, the sources said.

Pakistani and US officials have blamed Mehsud, who is based in neighbouring South Waziristan, for orchestrating the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in December.

Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said earlier Friday that he could neither confirm nor refute reports about al-Libi's death, nor could he say where the missile originated from.

"We cannot negate nor confirm because the moment it happened, they removed the bodies and buried them. So, how would anybody confirm who got killed?" Abbas told AFP.

In Washington, a Western official who asked not to be identified said there were "very strong indications" that Libi had been killed but provided no further details.

Asked about the reports, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said: "I don't have anything definitive for you on that."

US and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said they had no information.

Previous US missile attacks have claimed the lives of several militants in Pakistan.

A US Predator targeted Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in January 2006, killing several rebels and civilians but missing him and sparking protests in Pakistan.

A longtime jihadist, Libi was a leader of the now-defunct Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, opposed to Colonel Moamer Kadhafi.

He was named in Al-Qaeda videos as a senior field commander in Afghanistan and linkman with Taliban insurgents.

Libi was suspected of involvement in a suicide bombing that killed 23 people outside Bagram air base in Afghanistan during a visit by Cheney in February 2007.

He appeared in a video posted on the Internet last May to say that Al-Qaeda was prepared to consider exchanges of prisoners with Western nations, and he singled out a radical cleric under arrest in Britain.

In June 2007, Libi was the apparent target of a US rocket attack on a compound in Afghanistan's Paktia province in which seven children were killed.


February 1, 2008 - posted at  www.RogueGovernment.com

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:12am.