Ilyas Kashmiri killed in US drone strike, HuJi confirms death

June 4th, 2011 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 4 (IANS) Ilyas Kashmiri, one of the five most wanted terrorist leaders by the US, has been killed in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of South Waziristan, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), a terrorist group affiliated to Al Qaeda, confirmed.

Kashmiri was HuJI’s chief.

The death was confirmed Saturday by Abu Hanzla, who identified himself as HuJI’s spokesman, in a letter faxed to local media, Xinhua reported.

Pakistan’s state-run TV channel PTV also quoted government officials as saying that nine militants including Ilyas Kashmiri were killed and 22 others injured in the US drone strike in South Waziristan.

Considered one of the most dangerous terror leaders in the world, Kashmiri headed “Brigade 313″ , believed to have masterminded the May 22 attack on a naval base in Karachi.

Heavily armed terrorists stormed PNS Mehran base in Karachi and destroyed two surveillance aircraft. The 16-hour-long siege left 10 security personnel and four terrorists dead.

Earlier, an official told BBC Urdu service that he had received information about Kashmiri’s death but could not confirm it.

Witnesses were quoted as saying that Kashmiri had arrived in South Waziristan from the Khyber tribal region.

The news of Kashmiri’s killing comes just a month after Osama bin Laden was gunned down May 2 by US commandos in Abbottabad city, barely 120 km from Islamabad.

Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda have vowed to avenge Osama’s death. There have been a string of terror strikes across Pakistan since his killing.

The bushy bearded Kashmiri, who is also named in the Mumbai terror attack case against Pakistani Canadian accused Tahawwur Hussain Rana, was described by one senior US official as a rising star in Al Qaeda terror group, NBC News had reported.

Rana, who is accused of providing material support to Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and providing a cover to Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley for scouting targets for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, has gone on trial in Chicago.

Although the attacks on European cities never came off, Kashmiri, who frequently sported aviator-styled dark glasses, had told a reporter for the Asian Times that the 2008 Mumbai attack was “nothing compared to what has already been planned for the future”.

Kashmiri was at one point a member of the Pakistani military, serving as a commando in a Special Services Group that was once tasked with training Afghan mujahideen to fight the Soviets.

He was later reassigned to train Kashmiri fighters against the Indians, but broke from the Pakistani Army and joined a terrorist group called Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, or HuJI.

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