Ilyas Kashmiri, Al-Qaida’s most dreaded leader after Osama Bin Laden is claimed to have been killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan’s South Waziristan. This was confirmed through a fax sent by Abu Hanzallah, spokesman of “313 Brigade” of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al- Islami (HuJI). According to sources, two drone strikes had targeted areas near Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan and Kashmiri was killed in one of the strikes.
Kashmiri was a former officer of Pakistan military’s Special Services Group (SSG). He was the brain behind several militant attacks in India and Pakistan, including the recent one on Pakistan’s naval air station (PNS) Mehran in Karachi on May 22.
Ilyas Kashmiri was believed to be behind the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008. He is also wanted in several cases in India and famous for the incident of beheading an Indian soldier in Kashmir in February 2000, for which he was personally rewarded by the president of Pakistan.
It is to be noted that unlike previous incidents where the attackers claim the death of a militant leader, this is the first time a terrorist outfit has itself claimed the death of its leader. Following the recent death of Osama Bin Laden and Omar Mullah, the outfit itself claiming their main man’s death is to be considered suspiciously. There is a good chance that the militant outfits of Pakistan are using this for political and more diplomatic purpose.
Though the US has erupted in joy after the news of the death of Laden’s successor, this can actually turn out to be a warning and a start to a different strategy of militancy.