Key Al Qaeda leader killed in South Waziristan raid

December 07, 2014

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A FILE photo of Adnan Shukrijumah provided by the FBI.—AP
A FILE photo of Adnan Shukrijumah provided by the FBI.—AP

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A key Al Qaeda `commander’ was eliminated during a raid at a compound in Shin Warsak area of South Waziristan Agency on Saturday.

Shin Warsak lies 8km to the west of Wana, the administrative headquarters of South Waziristan.

The 39-year-old Saudi of Guyanese origin was on the “US Most Wanted List” and carried a reward of $5 million on his head. He was indicted in 2010 for plotting to carry out terrorist activity in New York’s subway system.

Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif praised the soldiers who took part in the operation, vowing to “pursue and eliminate all terrorists from our soil”.

“No one will be spared,” the ISPR quoted him as saying.

The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that Adnan Shukrijumah was killed in an operation carried out after a number of intelligence tips pointed to his presence in the area.

It said the top Al Qaeda leader had moved to Shin Warsak after the launch of Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan. An [Afghan] accomplice and a local facilitator were also killed in the raid, it added.

“Adnan el Shukrijumah was a top leader of Al Qaeda. He was responsible for all major operations,” the ISPR said.

“A soldier was killed and another sustained injuries in the shootout that went on from late in the night to early Saturday morning,” the military official said.

According to a security official, five Saudi accomplices of Shukrijuma had been caught during the raid.

“He (Juma) was virtually invisible. There was no sighting of him. We thought he might have fled to Iraq or Syria,” the official said.

According to him, the military authorities had handed over the Afghan’s body for burial, but held back Adnan’s body. He did not specify the identity of the group which received the Afghan’s body.

A resident of a village near Shin Warsak said the military raided two houses near a government-run high school in a small village occupied mostly by Afghan refugees at 3am.

“Adnan and others had moved into the area about two weeks ago,” the resident said on phone.

“Security forces had sealed the entire area before the raid. Helicopter gunships hovered about as the military moved in. There was gunfire too,” he said.

ELDERS FOREWARNED: The political administration had recently warned elders of Ahmadzai Wazir tribe to expel foreigners from their area or be ready for a “legal action”.

Adnan Gulsher el Shukrijumah, also known as Jaffar Tayar, was fluent in English and Arabic. He also had a smattering of Pushto, which he picked up during hiding in Waziristan.

According to officials, intense bombing since the launch of the military operation in June had forced militants based in North Waziristan’s Shawal valley to look for refuge in other places.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2014