Thursday, September 15
Al Qaeda chief of Pakistan operations killed on 9/11 tenth anniversary; State Dept. designates Indian Mujahideen a terrorist organization
Al Qaeda Chief of Pakistan Operations KilledSeptember 15:
by Jake Tapper
ABC News (USA)
A senior administration official tells ABC News that officials have confirmed that al Qaeda’s chief of Pakistan operations, Abu Hafs al-Shahri, was killed earlier this week in Waziristan, Pakistan.
The administration does not confirm the use of predator drones, but on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a drone fired two missiles at a car as it entered a compound in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, killing three militants.
“Abu Hafs’ death will further degrade al Qaeda’s ability to recover from the death last month of AQ’s number two, Atiyah, because of his operations experience and connections within the group,” the senior administration official said, referring to ‘Atiyah ‘Abd al-Rahman, the deputy leader of al Qaeda killed in August.
“Abu Hafs’ death removes a key threat inside Pakistan, where he collaborated closely with Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan to conduct coordinated attacks.”
In addition to the killing of Atiyah as well as Osama bin Laden earlier this year, Obama administration officials point to a number of attacks decimating al Qaeda’s leadership ranks “with more key leaders eliminated in rapid succession than at any time since 9/11,” the administration claims.
These include killing al Qaeda’s number 3 commander, Sheik Saeed al-Masri in May as well as one of the terrorist group’s most dangerous commanders, Ilyas Kashmiri, who was killed in June.
[Pundita Note: although it's likely he was taken out there is a lingering question as to whether Kashmiri is dead]
Administration officials also herald the recent US/Pakistani joint arrest of Younis al-Mauritani in Quetta.
US State Department adds Indian Mujahideen to list of terror groups [emphasis throughout mine]
By Bill Roggio
Long War Journal
Today the US State Department added the Indian Mujahideen to the list of "Foreign Terrorist Organizations" as well as to the list of specially designated global terrorist entities. The designation allows the US to freeze the group's assets, and prevents individuals from providing support to the terror organization.
State described the terror group as "an India-based terrorist group with significant links to Pakistan," and said it is "responsible for dozens of bomb attacks throughout India since 2005, and has caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians."
"IM [Indian Mujahideen] maintains close ties to other US- designated terrorist entities including Pakistan-based Lashkar e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI)," the statement explained.
"IM's stated goal is to carry out terrorist actions against non-Muslims in furtherance of its ultimate objective - an Islamic Caliphate across South Asia."
The Indian Mujahideen's "primary method of attack is multiple coordinated bombings in crowded areas against economic and civilian targets to maximize terror and casualties," State continued, and said the group was involved in the terror attack in Pune in 2010 (17 people killed), New Delhi in 2008 (30 people killed), and Ahmedabad in 2008 (38 people killed). The terror group "played a facilitative role in the 2008 Mumbai attack carried out by LeT that killed 163 people, including six Americans."
While not stated in the State Dept. release, the Indian Mujahideen is suspected of conducting numerous other attacks in India, including the July 13 bombings in Mumbai that killed 21 people, and the Sept. 7 attack outside a courthouse in Delhi that killed 11 people (both the Indian Mujahideen and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami claimed credit for this attack).
In the past the existence of the Indian Mujahideen was denied by India's Intelligence Bureau. Instead the Bureau has claimed that the terror group is a front group created by the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, or HUJI-B, an al Qaeda affiliate. According to the Bureau, HUJI-B created the Indian Mujahideen to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, which provides logistics for the attacks.
SIMI is itself a front group for the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Lashkar-e-Taiba inside India. It receives support from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and is an al Qaeda affiliate. SIMI provides logistical support for attacks in India.
The designation of the Indian Mujahideen was characterized by the State Dept. as a demonstration of the US government's solidarity with India.
"These designations highlight the threat posed by IM not only to Western interests, but to India, a close US partner. The Indian populace has borne the brunt of IM's wanton violence and today's actions illustrate our solidarity with the Indian Government," Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the Department of State's Coordinator for Counterterrorism, was quoted as saying in the press release.