ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan army on Saturday said a top Al Qaeda leader Adnan el Shukrijuma was killed early morning in the Sheen Warsak region of South Waziristan Agency.
A statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Shukrijuma had moved in this area to hide in a compound from North Waziristan Agency due to the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb operation.
"His accomplice and local facilitator were also killed in the raid," the statement added. Shukrijuma is the most senior Al Qaeda member ever killed by the Pakistani military.
The statement says Adnan el Shukrijuma was a member of the core Al Qaeda leadership and was in charge of all external operations of Al Qaeda. During the raid, a soldier was also killed and another injured.
The Pakistan Army had launched Operation Zarb-i-Azb in June against foreign and local terrorists who were hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan.
The comprehensive operation was launched a week after militants made a brazen insurgent attack on the country's busiest airport in Karachi.
Adnan el Shukrijuma
According to a Reuters report from 2010, 39-year-old Shukrijuma was among the five men charged with plotting to bomb New York City's subway system and attack an unidentified target in Britain under orders from Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.
Adnan El Shukrijumah, Adis Medunjanin, Abid Naseer, Tariq Ur Rehman, and a fifth man known as "Ahmad," were charged in July 2010 with 10 counts, including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and to commit murder in a foreign country.
The indictment said Shukrijumah, who is accused of being an Al Qaeda operations leader, and Ahmad "recruited and directed ... Adis Medunjanin, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States."
The New York plot was linked to the British plot by Ahmad, prosecutors said. Ahmad, an accused Al Qaeda facilitator in Peshawar, communicated with Zazi about the New York plot and with Naseer about a British plot, they said.
The FBI has long said that Saudi Arabian native Shukrijumah, who has a Guyanese passport, was a threat to the United States and there is a $5 million reward for his capture.
Shukrijumah has also been linked by US authorities to other terrorism suspects, including a group of men accused of planning to bomb fuel pipelines at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
A report in the Washington Post from 2003 quotes a senior law enforcement official describing him as a possible terrorism organiser in the style of Mohamed Atta, the suspected ringleader of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks. But authorities said they have no details on what kind of plot he might be involved in.
The report also said El Shukrijumah may have traveled on passports from Guyana, Trinidad, Canada or Saudi Arabia, the FBI said. He last entered the United States before the terrorist attacks in New York and on the Pentagon and left later that year, a law enforcement official said.
The El Shukrijumah family moved to Miramar, a suburb north of Miami, in 1995, according to Neville and Una Khan, who live in the same neighborhood and have known the family since the 1960s.
The Khans said that El Shukrijumah's father is a prominent Muslim leader in this suburb north of Miami and is the head of a prayer center, Masjid al Hijrah, next door to the family home.
Una Khan described Adnan El Shukrijumah as a devout student of the Holy Quran who worked with children at the prayer center. He tended to be modern in his thinking, she said. "He never indicated in any way that he was extremist. This is such a shock; this is something I don't understand. I can't believe it."
The Khans in 2003 said they have not seen El Shukrijumah for several years. They believe he is doing Islamic missionary work, though they don't know where. He was also earning money by selling Islamic books, they said.
Security man killed, 7 injured in gunbattle in Wana
A security man was killed and seven others were injured Saturday in a clash with militants near the town of Wana in South Waziristan.
Official sources said that after receiving reports about the presence of militants in Amaz Warsak and Sheen Warsak areas, forces launched an operation.
During the operation, security forces came under fire. Subsequently, one security man was killed and seven others were injured in the gunbattle.
There were also reports of militant casualties but the exact number could not be ascertained.
The information, however, could not be independently verified as journalists have limited access to the tribal agency.
South Waziristan is among Pakistan’s seven tribal districts near the Afghan border which are rife with insurgents and are alleged to be strongholds of Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, among others.
The tribal region was once the main stronghold for the Pakistani Taliban. The military launched a large offensive against militants there in 2009 but insurgents still operate in the area and periodically stage attacks.