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Jun 04, 2011 at 07:36pm IST

Qaeda's Illyas Kashmiri killed in US drone strike

New Delhi: Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) chief Illyas Kashmiri, a key suspect in the November 2008 Mumbai carnage, was killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan's South Waziristan. According to a BBC Urdu report, Kashmiri was killed along with nine other terrorists in the latest drone strikes in South Waziristan on Friday night. HuJI confirmed that Kashmiri was killed in the strike.

Kashmiri was killed when US drones targeted a location 20 km from Wana, one of the main towns in South Waziristan on Friday night.

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Residents of the area claimed that a US drone fired four missiles killing the terrorists. Three others have been reported to be injured in the attack.

The report said Kashmiri came to Wana from the Khyber tribal region 10 days ago and moved to the area where the drone strike was carried out on Friday night.

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Local residents said the dead terrorists had already been buried in a graveyard in the area.

Harkatul Jihad al-Islami is an organisation affiliated with al Qaeda and has been active in Kashmir and is also accused of carrying out many terror attacks in Pakistani including the one on Pakistani Naval base PNS Mehran in May 2011.

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According to murdered Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad's book, Kashmiri used an old Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) plan to script the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008.

David Coleman Headley, in his testimony in a Chicago court, has also claimed that Kashmiri had been targeted by a US drone attack earlier also.

But this is not the first that there have been reports of Kashmiri's death in a drone strike. He was reported killed in an attack by a US spy plane in

North Waziristan in September 2009 but re-emerged a month later to give an interview to Shahzad.

The US had recently given Pakistan time till July, the month when NATO and allied forces will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan, to launch a military offensive in North Waziristan tribal region and to capture five most wanted al- Qaeda and Taliban leaders, including Kashmiri.

The other terrorists on the US list are al Qeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, Taliban chief Mullah Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani (chief of Haqqani network) and Atia Abdur Rehman.

Reports have said the US and Pakistan have formed joint intelligence teams to track down these terrorists.

(With additional information from PTI)

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