'Brain' of al-Qaeda Reported Killed in US Strike

Top jihadist Ilyas Kashmiri dead after drone attack in Pakistan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2011 9:33 AM CDT
In this file photo, a US drone flies over the Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – Looks like another top al-Qaeda leader has gone down: A US drone in Pakistan reportedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri, who is variously described as the "military brain" of al-Qaeda (CNN), a potential replacement for Osama in Laden (AP), and one of Pakistan's top militants (BBC). One caveat: The news hasn't been confirmed by US and Pakistani officials on the record, and false reports about Kashmiri's death came once before in 2009. But his own "313 Brigade" faxed that he had been "martyred" and promised revenge.

"God willing, America, which is the 'pharaoh' of this, will soon see a revenge attack, and our real target is America," said the statement. Kashmiri has been accused of masterminding several high-profile attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai massacre and last month's attack on a naval base in Karachi, Pakistan. (Read more Ilyas Kashmiri stories.)

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