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February 29, 2008

Whoah: Zawahiri Targeted?

Just buzz and speculation, but pretty sweet. Someone got croaked. Just maybe not the Big Z.

Pakistani and US intelligence are attempting to sort out the names of the al Qaeda and Taliban operatives killed in yesterday's airstrike in Azam Warzak, South Waziristan. Initial reports indicated Arabs and fighters from Central Asia were killed in the operation. One report indicates an "al Qaeda fugitive from Egypt" was among those killed, sparking rumors that Ayman al Zawahiri was the target of the strike.

...

While the identities of those killed in the latest strike in South Waziristan are still being sorted out, the nationality of some of those killed is known. Anywhere from eight to 13 al Qaeda and Taliban were reported killed in the strike. Dawn reported four Arabs, two Turkmen, and two Pakistanis from Punjab province were killed. Local Taliban cordoned the area and immediately buried the bodies, which were said to have been badly burned and mutilated.

The presence of Arab al Qaeda operatives in Azam Warzak has led to speculation that a senior al Qaeda figure may have been killed. "An al Qaeda fugitive from Egypt" was reported to have been among those killed, The Nation reported. This has raised the hopes that Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian-borne second in command of al Qaeda was among present during the strike.

But several senior Egyptian members of al Qaeda are known to operate in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Geraghty notes the political angle:

[A] key part of both Hillary and Obama's playbooks is endlessly moaning, "we've forgotten the real war, we're losing the war in Afghanistan, we've been distracted from al-Qaeda." Democrats looked silly when they claimed the Iraq buildup was distracting from fighting al-Qaeda, just as the U.S. and Pakistan captured Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

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posted by Ace at 03:31 PM

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