US Strikes in Pakistan Have Hammered al-Qaeda: Officials

9 militant leaders killed in six months
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 22, 2009 11:35 AM CDT
Supporters of a Pakistani Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami shout slogans during a rally in Karachi earlier this year to condemn the US missile strikes.   (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
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(Newser) – Some six months of US missile strikes in Pakistan are rocking al-Qaeda, sparking violent infighting among militants, the Los Angeles Times reports. The frequency of attacks was upped last August by the Bush administration when it began launching strikes without Pakistan’s permission. Since then, there have been at least 38 Predator attacks, up from 10 in 2006-2007 combined. At least nine militant leaders have been killed.

“This last year has been a very hard year” for al-Qaeda, said a top counter-terrorism official. "They're losing a bunch of their better leaders” and “hunting down people who they think are responsible” for leaking information. “At this point they’re wondering who’s next.” Observers believe that the effectiveness of the attacks means President Obama will likely continue them, even though they’ve killed civilians, thereby igniting Pakistani anger toward the US.