May 13, 2005


CIA Aircraft Kills Terrorist: Senior Al Qaeda Operative Struck by Predator Missile (ABC News, May. 13, 2005)

A senior al Qaeda operative was killed by a missile fired from a CIA Predator aircraft on the Pakistani side of the remote area near the Afghan border earlier this week, U.S. intelligence officials told ABC News.

The CIA refused to confirm or deny any operational matter.

Haitham al-Yemeni, a native of Yemen known for his bomb-making skills, had been tracked for some time in the hope that he would help lead the United States to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, intelligence officials said. But with the recent capture in northwest Pakistan of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, thought to be al Qaeda's No. 3 man, officials worried al-Yemeni would soon go into hiding, and decided to take action.

Al-Yemeni was in line to replace al-Libbi, intelligence analysts said.

"It's an important step that has been taken in that it has eliminated another level of experienced leadership from the directorate of al Qaeda itself," said Vince Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism for the CIA and now an ABC News consultant. "It will help weaken the organization and make it much less effective."

How much less effective could they be?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 13, 2005 8:12 PM
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