June 20, 2004


Algeria Kills Head of Group Allied to Al Qaeda (Paul de Bendern, 6/20/04, Reuters)

The Algerian armed forces said on Sunday they had killed the leader of a major Islamic rebel group with ties to al Qaeda.

"Units of the People's National Army, engaged in a vast anti-terrorist operation... have killed a number of criminals, including Nabil Sahraoui, alias Mustapha Abou Ibrahim, chief of the terrorist group known as the GSPC, as well as his (three) main aides," the army said in a statement obtained by Reuters. It said the militants died in the province of Bejaia, some 120 miles east of the capital Algiers. It did not say when they were killed, but said the military operation was still going on.

Pakistan killing weakens Al Qaeda, inflames tribes: US, Pakistan call raid that killed terror tribal leader Naik Mohammad a 'big success.' (Owais Tohid, 6/21/04, CS Monitor)
For many tribesmen, he was like David fighting the Goliath of Pakistani and US forces, and his "martyrdom" Thursday ensures him a place in the myths and legends of Pashtun culture.

Naik Mohammad, a top Al Qaeda supporter, led the armed resistance against Pakistan's security forces and protected hundreds of Arab, Chechen, and Uzbek guerrillas hiding in the tribal region of South Waziristan.

The long-haired holy warrior and seven comrades were killed in a rocket attack in a village named Doag outside the regional capital of Wana. His hideout, a fellow tribesman's mud hut, was located after tracing a satellite phone call by Mr. Mohammad - perhaps with US help.

As thousands of tribesmen mourn his death, Pakistan and US officials are hailing the strike as a success for their coordinated strategy to trap Al Qaeda remnants - possibly including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri - along the Afghan border.

"This is a big success in our ongoing war against terrorism," said military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan. In Kabul, Lt. Col. Tucker Mansager of the US coalition forces said, "It is our hope that his death will help disorganize the ongoing fight by foreign terrorists in the tribal areas of Pakistan and allow the Pakistan military to better destroy the terrorists that remain in the area."

Some analysts agree that Mohammad's death will disrupt the local support network relied upon by the foreign militants.

Pakistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq...tough week to be an al Qaeda, eh? If we were winning the war instead of being distracted by the establishment of a democratic Iraq, this is what winning would look like.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 20, 2004 11:15 PM

Hmmm ... tracing a satellite phone call, a precision rocket attack ... sounds to me like a U.S. cross-border strike the Pakis are taking credit for.

Posted by: jd watson at June 21, 2004 1:57 AM

Mr. Watson;

That's fine. The guy's still dead and there are geopolitical advantages to having everyone (but especially Pakistan and Al Qaeda) believing that it was done by Pakistan.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at June 21, 2004 8:34 AM

Paks could use a morale booster after that disaster a couple of months ago.

That they're actually doing something is a plus.

With some sane talk/opinions coming out of there, kind of makes me wonder if there was an attempt to steal nukes or pertinent materiel.

Posted by: Sandy P at June 21, 2004 1:46 PM