ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistani soldiers killed a top al-Qaeda operative Saturday who was indicted in the US for his alleged involvement in a plot to bomb New York’s subway system, the military said in a statement.
The death of Adnan Shukrijumah is the latest blow to the terror organisation still reeling from the 2011 killing of leader Osama bin Laden and now largely eclipsed by the militant Islamic State group. It also marks a major achievement for the Pakistani military, which mounted a widespread military operation in the northwest this summer.
The military announced Shukrijumah’s death in a statement, saying that he was killed along with two other suspected militants in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal area early Saturday. South Waziristan is part of the mountainous territory bordering Afghanistan that is home to various militant groups fighting both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“The al-Qaeda leader, who was killed by the Pakistan army in a successful operation, is the same person who had been indicted in the United Stated,” said a senior Pakistani army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to journalists.
As al-Qaeda’s head of external operations, the 39-year-old Shukrijumah occupied a position once held by September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The FBI lists Shukrijumah, a Saudi national, as a “most wanted” terrorist and the US State Department had offered up to a US$5 million reward for his capture.