Drone Strikes Kills Top Pakistani Terrorist on Saturday; 18 militants on MondayMon June 6th, 2011 via: Voice of America
Just hours after Pakistan said one of the country's most wanted terrorist leaders had been killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike, a bomb blast in the northwest region of the country has killed six people.
Police say the explosion Sunday at a bus stop in Matani, a town near the city of Peshawar, wounded at least 10 people.
On Saturday, Pakistani intelligence sources said that senior al-Qaida leader Ilyas Kashmiri died along with eight other militants in an attack on a location in South Waziristan.
Kashmiri's own militant group, Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, or HUJI, confirmed his death in a fax to news organizations, saying Kashmiri was "martyred" Friday.
The United States had designated Kashmiri a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" and offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
Intelligence officials regarded Kashmiri as one of the most dangerous and highly trained terrorist operatives. Pakistani officials suspected him of masterminding last month's attack on a naval base in Karachi, in which a handful of militants held off Pakistani forces for about 17 hours.
Officials have also tied Kashmiri to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people. The U.S. blames Kashmiri's group for the March 2006 bombing of the U.S. consulate in Karachi that killed four people and wounded 48 others. A U.S. grand jury indicted Kashmiri in 2010 in connection with a plot to attack a Danish newspaper.
This is not the first time Pakistani officials have said Kashmiri was killed. They previously said he had been killed in a suspected drone strike in 2009.
Kashmiri's killing comes about a month after U.S. special forces entered Pakistan and killed al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden in his hideout near Islamabad.
Pakistani intelligence officials say three U.S. drone strikes have killed at least 18 militants in the country's northwest tribal region.
All of Monday's strikes were in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border. Officials say missiles hit a compound, an Islamic seminary and a vehicle near the main town of Wana. Foreign militants, including Arabs and Uzbeks, were said to be among those killed.
The attacks come just days after the reported death of senior al-Qaida operative Ilyas Kashmiri in a U.S. drone strike in same tribal area.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik both said Monday they were confident Kashmiri is dead. But unnamed U.S. defense officials told new agencies they still have no confirmation of his killing.
The United States has designated Kashmiri a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" and offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. The al-Qaida operative is accused of involvement in several attacks on Western targets, the 2008 terrorist siege on the Indian city of Mumbai and the recent attack on a Pakistani naval base in Karachi.
This was the second time Kashmiri has been reported to have been killed. Pakistani officials said Kashmiri was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike in September of 2009.
The United States has stepped up drone attacks since U.S. special forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden on May 2 in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.
U.S. officials have never publicly acknowledged the use of drones inside Pakistan, but have privately confirmed the strikes to various news outlets.
Pakistani leaders protest the attacks as a violation of the country's sovereignty, but Pakistani intelligence is believed to provide the U.S. information for the strikes.
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