Thursday, January 08, 2009

'BIG GET" TWO TOP AL-QAEDA OPPS KILLED IN PAKISTAN AIR STRIKE, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan & Somalia trainer Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam

A New Year's CIA strike in northern Pakistan killed two top al-Qaeda terrorists long sought by the United States, including the man believed to be behind September's deadly suicide bombing at a Marriott hotel in the Pakistani capital, U.S. counterterrorism officials told The Washingon Post today.

Agency officials determined in recent days that among the dead in the Jan. 1 missile strike were a Kenyan national who used the name Usama al-Kini AKA Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam and who was described as al-Qaeda's chief of operations in Pakistan and his lieutenant, identified as Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, the sources said.

Kini, who had been pursued by U.S. law enforcement agencies on two continents for a decade, was the eighth senior al-Qaeda leader killed in clandestine CIA strikes since July, the officials said.

A U.S. counterterrorism official confirmed that the two died in a CIA strike on a building that was being used for explosives training. "They died preparing new acts of terror," said the official, who insisted on anonymity because the agency's actions are secret. Details of the attack were sketchy, but counter-terrorism officials privy to classified reports said the pair was killed by a 500-pound hellfire missiles fired by a pilotless drone aircraft operated by the CIA.

The strike took place near Karikot in South Waziristan, a province in the rugged autonomous tribal region of northern Pakistan that has long been a haven for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

The counter-terrorism official who described the Jan. 1 attack said: "Clearly, al-Qaeda's safe haven in Pakistan isn't nearly as safe as it used to be." Kini, whose given name was Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam, had trained terrorists in Africa (SOMALIA) in the 1990s and served as a central planner of the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, U.S. officials said. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with those attacks and has been on the FBI's most-wanted list ever since.
SOMALIA LINK; both Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan had a great deal to do with the training and recruitment of terrorists in Somalia in the early 1990's and had set up terror bases in Somalia and the "Black Hawk Down" incident in Mogadishu in 1993.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he became al-Qaeda's emir of Afghanistan's Zabul Province, and later shifted between Afghanistan, Pakistan and East Africa (SOMALIA), planning suicide missions, training operatives and raising money, U.S. officials said.

He became al-Qaeda's operations director for Pakistan in 2007 and was responsible for at least seven suicide attacks, the sources said. These included a failed assassination attempt on Benazir Bhutto, the late Pakistani prime minister, in October of that year, and the Sept. 16, 2008, car-bombing of Islamabad's Marriott Hotel. That attack killed 53 people.

Terrorism experts have cautioned that al-Qaeda has shown surprising resilience, quickly replacing leaders who are killed or captured. Still, there have been few occasions since 2001 when the group lost so many top operatives so quickly, the U.S. counterterrorism official noted.

Bill Warner
private investigator
WBI Inc Private Detective Agency
Sarasota Fl