ISLAMABAD: Senior al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official said on Tuesday. “He was believed to be among the top leadership of al Qaeda,” the senior security official said on condition of anonymity.
Al-Masri, which means Egyptian, was the most senior al Qaeda operative to have been killed in Pakistan’s tribal belt since the death of his compatriot, Abu Khabab al-Masri, an al-Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, last month.
Al-Qa’eda have yet to confirm the latest death, but did acknowledge the earlier killings. In a web statement they said Abu Khabab al-Masri and three other commanders had been killed. It did not give details on when or how they were killed, but Pakistani authorities have said they believe al-Masri died in an American airstrike on a compound near the Afghan border.
Pakistani officials have said six people were killed in that strike, in the country’s lawless South Waziristan tribal region. The first Al-Masri, an Egyptian militant whose real name is Midhat Mursi, had a $5 million bounty on his head from the United States. He is accused of training terrorists to use poisons and explosives, and is believed to have trained suicide bombers who killed 17 American sailors on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.-SANA