2 Qaeda Leaders Killed in U.S. Strike in Pakistan
By ERIC SCHMITT, New York Times, January 9, 2009
WASHINGTON — An American missile strike on Jan. 1 in Pakistan’s tribal areas killed two senior leaders of Al Qaeda, including one militant suspected of overseeing last September’s deadly suicide bombing at a Marriott Hotel in Pakistan’s capital, an American counterterrorism official said Thursday.
In the past week, American officials have concluded that Hellfire missiles fired from a remotely piloted Predator aircraft operated by the C.I.A. killed a Kenyan citizen who used the name Usama al-Kini and who was described as Al Qaeda’s chief of operations in Pakistan, as well as his Kenyan lieutenant, identified as Sheik Ahmed Salim Swedan, the official said.
Both militants have been linked to suicide attacks in Pakistan in recent months, and were also on the F.B.I.’s most-wanted list for ties to the 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Mr. Kini, whose death was first reported on The Washington Post’s Web site on Thursday, was at least the eighth senior Qaeda leader killed since August in an increasingly aggressive C.I.A. air campaign to attack top militants who have carved out a sanctuary in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghanistan border.
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