|Shukrijumah dead in Pak shootout|
He's been on the Burg radar since 2002.
On Saturday, the authorities finally caught up with Adnan Shukrijumah, al-Qaeda's chief of global operations who had a $5 million (£3.2 million) bounty on his head. Shukrijumah, 39, died in a raid by Pakistain military on a compound in South tribal area. He had been hunted down and killed.
US authorities had him on their most wanted list since 2010, while the justice department had charged him with ordering an attack on the New York subway. The same indictment links him to a plot to blow up shopping centres in Manchester, while he has also been implicated in attacks on the London Underground and to trains in Norway.
Shukrijumah's role in al-Qaeda was to choose the targets and then recruit the to carry them out. The attacks on New York, London and Manchester were thankfully thwarted.
Confirmation of his death came from a Pakistain senior army officer. "The al-Qaeda leader, who was killed by the Pakistain army in a successful operation, is the same person who had been indicted in the United Stated," he said.
While born in , Shukrijumah, 39, had a better insight into the West than perhaps any other al-Qaeda operative, including even its founder . He had grown up in the US, his family moving to Brooklyn when he was a teenager in the Eighties and then to Florida in the Nineties, giving Shukrijumah a familiarity with America that allowed him to move largely unnoticed. He was the only senior al-Qaeda leader with a green card.
It is reported he was a regular traveller to the Caribbean and an occasional visitor to London before he went on the run in the weeks prior to the 9/11 attack.
Federal authorities in the US believe Shukrijumah oversaw a panel with two other senior al-Qaeda leaders that hatched attacks from their base in Pakistain. One of his fellow plotters was Rashid Rauf, the Birmingham-born al-Qaeda commander, who had also ed a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners using liquid bombs. Rauf was killed in in 2008 in North Waziristan; Saleh al-Somali, the third member of the panel, was killed a year later in another drone strike.
Security services accuse Shukrijumah of involvement in a number of planned atrocities, including the plot to blow up a Manchester shopping centre in 2009. A dozen students were but none charged due to lack of evidence. Some of the suspects had been watched by MI5 agents as they filmed themselves outside the Trafford Centre on the edge of Manchester, the Arndale Centre in the city centre, and the nearby St Ann's Square. Police round up the alleged plotters after they were overheard discussing dates, understood to include the Easter bank holiday, one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.
Had it been successful, the attack would likely have been the worst in the UK. "We had to act," an intelligence source said at the time.
A year later on July 7 2010, Shukrijumah was charged by the US justice department with "an al-Qaeda plot to attack targets in the United States and United Kingdom". Two other men indicted in New York -- Abid Naseer and Tariq ur Rehman -- had previously been arrested on suspicion of terrorism over the Manchester plot.
Shukrijumah was charged with "providing and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda; conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction; assisting the receipt of military training; committing and attempting to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries; and using firearms in relation to the same offences".
The foiled attack on the new York subway, using a different cell, was described by the attorney general at the time as "one of the most dangerous" since 9/11.
Federal prosecutors said Shukrijumah had also recruited three men to carry out attacks on the London Underground as well. Details of that remain scant.
In the US, he had not amounted to much. His father, a scholar born in Guyana in South America, had been at a mosque in Brooklyn until he moved the family to Florida. Shukrijumah went to a local college before getting a job selling used cars.
His mother Zurah Adbu Ahmed , described him as a "kind, loving, caring boy", but admitted he had been angered by the excesses of American society including "drugs, alcohol, a love for sex, and clubs". She added: "That doesn't make him a terrorist."
On Saturday in a pre-dawn raid, Pak helicopter gunships swooped on Shukrijumah's hideout. He died in a , the most senior al-Qaeda leader killed by the Pakistain military. Intelligence officials confirmed that five people captured were Shukrijumah's wife and four children.
|Home Front: WoT|
|Guilty plea over NYC subway plot|
|A New York man has pleaded guilty to terror charges in connection with a plot to set off suicide bombs in the city's subway system. Zarein Ahmedzay admitted conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and providing support to al-Qaeda, in a plea entered in a court in New York. |
US officials have called it one of the most serious threats since 9/11.
Ahmedzay, 25, originally entered a not guilty plea after his arrest in January. He was picked up with another classmate, Adis Medunjanin, who is facing similar charges.
Prosecutors say the three were planning an attack on city subway lines last September under the direction of al-Qaeda that would have been similar to the 2005 attacks on public transit in London, which killed more than 50 people.
Prosecutors have said Ahmedzay, Zazi and Mr Medunjanin all travelled to Pakistan in 2008 to look for terrorism training.
At the Brooklyn hearing, Assistant US Attorney Geoffrey Knox said the plotters had met two senior al-Qaeda operatives who ordered them to carry out the suicide bombings. Mr Knox identified the leaders as Saleh al-Somali and Rashid Rauf, both of whom were killed in Pakistan over the past year.
|US Killed Al Qaeda's Lashkar Al Zil Commander In Airstrike|
|Al Qaeda has confirmed that the US killed the leader of the Lashkar al Zil, or the Shadow Army, the terror group's military organization along the Afghan and Pakistani border.|
Mustafa Abu Yazid, al Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan, said that Abdullah Said al Libi was killed in a US airstrike in Pakistan. Yazid confirmed that Al Libi was killed in a tape praising the suicide attack on the CIA base in Khost. Yazid also confirmed that Saleh al Somali, al Qaeda's former external operations chief, was also killed in a US attack.
Yazid said the suicide attack against the CIA at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province on Dec. 30, 2009, was carried out by an al Qaeda operative named Dr. Abu Dujanah al Khurasani. Media reports indicate the attack was carried out by a Jordanian doctor named Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al Balawi, who enticed the CIA with promises of being able to produce Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command. Khurasani and Balawi are indeed the same person.
The suicide attack, which killed seven CIA operatives and a Jordanian intelligence official, was designed to "avenge" the death of al Libi, Somali, and former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, Yazid said, according to a translation of his statement received by The Long War Journal.
"[This attack was carried out] to avenge our righteous martyrs, as he [Khurasani/Balawi] (may God have mercy on him) wrote in his will: 'To avenge the leader, Amir Baitullah Mehsud, the leaders Abu Saleh al Somali and Abdullah Said al Libi, and their brothers (may God have mercy on them)."
But Abdullah Said al Libi was not listed by US intelligence as being killed during recent strikes. "[Mustafa Abu Yazid's statement] is our first true indication that Abdullah Said al-Libi is dead, which is the subtext for why Ilyas Kashmiri has been listed as the Lashkar al Zil commander in recent media reports," a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. It is not clear exactly when al Libi was killed.
The Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army, is the successor to al Qaeda's notorious Brigade 055, the military formation that fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan from 1996-2002. The Shadow Army formed from the ashes of 055 Brigade in Pakistan's tribal areas from 2002-2006. The Shadow Army has been expanded to six brigades, and has an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 fighters. In addition to dispatching small teams of embedded trainers to Taliban units, the Shadow Army fights in military formations along the Afghan and Pakistani border region.
The Shadow Army occasional fights alongside the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and the Haqqani Network, in formations ranging from squad to company level. Evidence of this was seen recently in Swat and Bajaur in Pakistan, where the Pakistani Army met stiff resistance in some battles, as well as during battles in North and South Waziristan in 2007 and 2008.
The Shadow Army also played a role in the assaults on joint US and Afghan outposts in Nuristan province last fall, as well as in a series of attacks last year on outposts in the Afghan provinces of Paktika, Paktia, Khost, Kunar, and Nuristan. The most publicized attack took place in July 2008 in Wanat in Nuristan, when nine US soldiers were killed and the base was nearly overrun.
The US has targeted the leaders of the Shadow Army during its air campaign in Pakistan's northwest. The US killed Khalid Habib, the former leader of the Shadow Army, during an airstrike in South Waziristan in Pakistan last November. Habib was replaced by Abdullah Said al Libi. The US also killed Zuhaib al Zahib, a senior commander in the Shadow Army during a strike at the end of December.