CIA Missile Strike Kills 2 al-Qaeda Leaders

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2009 7:00 PM CST
An unmanned drone of the US Air Force.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A secret CIA airstrike on New Year's Day killed two high-ranking al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, the Washington Post reports. The missile strike took out al-Qaeda's chief of operations in Pakistan and his lieutenant. The men were linked to high-profile suicide bombings throughout the nation—including a blast at the Islamabad Marriott in September that killed 53—as well as the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa.

"They died preparing new acts of terror," said one counter-terrorism official, noting that they were in a building used for explosives training. The higher ranking of the two, Usama al-Kini, is the eighth senior leader killed since July. An unmanned drone unleashed the missile near South Waziristan, part of a campaign that has drawn condemnation from Pakistan but praise from US defense officials.