Plot Thins In The War On Terror
from Investors Business Daily | November 25, 2008
Rashid Rauf, mastermind of the 2006 trans-Atlantic airline bomb plot, became the latest al-Qaida casualty when a missile launched from a Predator drone struck a tribesman's house in the village of Alikhel in North Waziristan.
If Rauf believed he had found sanctuary there, he was sadly mistaken. There have been at least 20 such strikes in the last three months as the Bush administration seeks to thwart the ability of militants to fuel the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and deny al-Qaida plotters a safe haven.
The attack on Rauf, which also killed Egyptian al-Qaida operative Abu Zubair al-Masri, came within days of another strike in the Bannu district, deeper in Pakistani territory and outside the lawless tribal areas.
Among those killed in that attack, according to Radio Australia, was Abdullah Azam al-Saudi, an Arab whom U.S. intelligence officials identified as the main link between al-Qaida's senior command and Taliban networks in the Pakistani border region.
Rauf was the architect of the "liquid bomb" plot that now forces travelers to limit fluids to 3.5 ounces in carry-on baggies. He was arrested in 2006 in Pakistan in the bomb plot and was headed back to jail in Islamabad after an extradition hearing, when authorities allowed him to stop and pray at a mosque uncuffed.
The plot targeted seven flights from Heathrow Airport in London to New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto and Montreal operated by United Airlines, Air Canada and American Airlines. The plan was for different passengers to carry peroxide-based liquid explosive in drinks and other containers and detonators disguised as electronic devices and combine them on board.
Also biting the dust in recent days was Hajji Hammadi, a senior al-Qaida in Iraq leader who was chosen as the emir of Karmah in eastern Anbar province by none other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi himself. He led an al-Qaida unit in the second battle of Fallujah, where more than 2,000 al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgents were killed clearing the city.
Hammadi had "connections with the country's legacy al-Qaida leadership" and was "responsible for planning and conducting multiple attacks on coalition forces, Iraqi police, Iraqi government officials and Iraqi citizens," according to U.S. military spokesmen.
Karmah was one of the last areas brought under control by U.S. and Iraqi forces as part of the Anbar Awakening.
Hammadi fell victim to hunter-killer teams of Task Force 88 earlier this month and was the fourth senior al-Qaida leader killed in Iraq and neighboring Syria over the past six weeks. U.S. special operations forces also killed Abu Qaswarah al-Skani, al-Qaida in Iraq's second in command, during a raid in Mosul.
On Oct. 27, Task Force 88 conducted a daylight raid into Syria in an attempt to capture Abu Ghadiya, al-Qaida's senior facilitator and logistics coordinator for foreign fighters entering Iraq. He died in the ensuing firefight.
Abu Ghazwan, once senior commander in the regions north of Baghdad, was killed in a raid by Iraqi soldiers and the Sons of Iraq on Nov. 7. In 2006 and 2007, this key al-Masri associate led attempts to take control of Baghdad.
The idea that the U.S. hasn't taken the battle to the enemy sanctuaries in Syria and Pakistan, or that we are losing control of Afghanistan, isn't exactly accurate. The terrorists we fight are scurrying about as we lift the remaining rocks they hide under, but there's no place for them to run.