Friday, May 13, 2005

CIA Drone Takes Out al-Qaeda Leader

ABC News reported this evening that Haitham al-Yemeni, a "senior al-Qaeda operative" known for his skills at bomb-making, was killed recently by a missile fired from a CIA-operated Predator drone. The attack occurred in Pakistan, near the Afghan border. The report adds that al-Yemeni

"had been tracked for some time in the hope that he would help lead the United States to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, intelligence officials said. But with the recent capture in northwest Pakistan of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, thought to be al Qaeda's No. 3 man, officials worried al-Yemeni would soon go into hiding, and decided to take action.

Al-Yemeni was in line to replace al-Libbi, intelligence analysts said."

NBC investigative reporter Roger Cressey confirms the ABC report, adding "The debate was over whether to hit him individually or wait until he was part of a bigger group." CNN's David Ensor says two sources also confirmed the story, but says that one of those disputed ABC's conclusion that al-Yemeni was slated to becom bin Laden's third-in-command, "saying as recently as last month, he did not occupy that high of a level in al Qaeda. '...Though I suppose you can't rule it out entirely,' the source added."

The CIA refused to comment in any way on this report.


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