June 24, 2017

al-Qaeda leader Abu Hafs al-Shahri killed in Pakistan

Ah yes the drone. A vital element of US foreign policy.

A senior al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan, Abu Hafs al-Shahri, has been killed, say senior US officials.

There has been no independent confirmation of the death, which officials said happened in the Waziristan tribal region.

The US frequently carries out drone air strikes against suspected militants hiding out in the volatile area.

Three weeks ago, the US said it had killed al-Qaeda’s suspected chief of operations, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.

The media are denied access to the area, making it difficult to confirm such claims.

The US said Shahri has been killed earlier this week and that his death “removes a key threat inside Pakistan”.

He had played a “key operational and administrative role” in al-Qaeda and had worked closely with the Taliban to carry out attacks in Pakistan, said officials.

The death would “further degrade al-Qaeda’s ability to recover” from the death of Abd al-Rahman, they said, as Shahri had been considered a contender to take on some of the dead leader’s duties.

The US does not routinely confirm drone operations and there has been no comment as yet from Pakistani officials.

However, correspondents says that Arab newspapers had already reported on the killing of Shahri, saying his relatives in Saudi Arabia had received an anonymous phone call to inform them had been killed in a US drone strike.

Abd al-Rahman had reportedly been number two on a list of the five top militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan whom Washington and Islamabad most wanted to capture or kill.

He was considered a close confidant of Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by US special forces in a raid in northern Pakistan in May, and was heavily relied on by the group’s new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Newswarped monitors Western media and estimates that the death toll of ‘senior’al-Qaeda leaders killed this year has now risen to 42,234.