Senior Al-Qaida Member Killed

February 04, 2008 01:15 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Al-Qaida leaders confirm the death of Abu Laith al-Libi. He was known in intelligence circles as a key link between Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

30-Second Summary

On Jan. 28, top Al-Qaida operative Abu Laith al-Libi was killed in a U.S.-led missile strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region near the Afghan border.

However, reports of his death did not circulate until three days after the attack, when Al-Ekhlass—a Web site affiliated with Al-Qaida—confirmed his killing.

Pakistan’s northwestern border region is a known hub of Al-Qaida activity. But out of respect for U.S. diplomatic relations with Pakistan, the CIA did not openly claim responsibility for the strike.

Reuters called al-Libi’s assassination “the first big success the United States has notched against Osama bin Laden’s group for over two years.”

According to U.S. Major Chris Belcher, al-Libi “was knowledgeable about how to conduct suicide bombing missions and how to inflict the most civilian casualties.” Intelligence authorities connected al-Libi to the bombing at Bagram Air Force Base last February that coincided with a visit from Vice President Dick Cheney. The blast killed 23 people.

Blog Outside the Beltway argues that although al-Libi’s death won’t show any immediate positive effects in Afghanistan, the fact that he died in Pakistan may mean the country “is finally getting serious about combating this threat to their country’s survival.”

In a December 2007 poll of policy experts conducted by the Atlantic Monthly, 65 percent considered a U.S. incursion into Pakistan “somewhat likely.”

Headline Links: Al-Qaida leader al-Libi killed

Background: Al-Qaida

Biography: Abu Laith al-Libi

Opinion & Analysis: A man of connections


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