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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Top al-Qaida leader killed

Terrorism News Updates! A NATO airstrike killed a senior al--Qaida commander in eastern Afghanistan, officials said, as Pakistan investigated reports that a separate CIA drone-launched missile killed the insurgents’ No. 3 commander.

Wednesday’s attacks could be a serious blow to the terrorist network’s capabilities in the region, and come as the United States has escalated strikes by unmanned drones in Pakistan’s volatile border region in an effort to disrupt suspected terror plots in Europe, a Western counter-terrorism official said in Washington.

It wasn’t known whether the drone attacks were related specifically to a terror plot against Britain, France and Germany that European authorities said they intercepted. The Eiffel Tower was briefly evacuated Tuesday evening after officials received a telephoned bomb threat.

NATO said the airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed several militants, including Abdallah Umar al—Qurayshi, a senior al—Qaida commander of Saudi origin who coordinated attacks by Arab fighters in Kunar and Nuristan provinces near the Pakistani border. NATO said an air weapons team went in after the strike and confirmed that the targeted structure was destroyed.

Pakistani security officials, meanwhile, said they were investigating reports that a missile strike from a CIA drone killed Sheikh Fateh al—Masri as he travelled in a tribal region near the border. Al—Masri is believed to have replaced Mustafa al—Yazid, who was killed in a missile strike in May, as the group’s No. 3 commander.

The United States reportedly launched 21 drone attacks into north-western Pakistan this month, more than double the number in any previous month.

The Western counter-terrorism official said some of the strikes were aimed at disrupting suspected terrorist plots aimed at Europe. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the details of the terror plot remain sensitive.

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