|Page 2 of 2 <|
Jan. 1 Attack By CIA Killed Two Leaders Of Al-Qaeda
The counterterrorism official who described the Jan. 1 attack said, "Clearly, al-Qaeda's safe haven in Pakistan isn't nearly as safe as it used to be."
There was no immediate reaction from Pakistan, which in recent months has indicated a willingness to tolerate such attacks within its borders, as long as they target foreign operatives and do not involve the use of ground troops.
Kini, whose given name was Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam, had trained terrorists in Africa in the 1990s and served as a central planner of the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, U.S. officials said. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with those attacks and has been on the FBI's list of the most-wanted terrorists ever since.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he became al-Qaeda's emir of Afghanistan's Zabul province, and he later shifted among Afghanistan, Pakistan and East Africa, planning suicide missions, training operatives and raising money, U.S. officials said.
He became al-Qaeda's operations director for Pakistan in 2007 and was responsible for at least seven suicide attacks, the sources said. These included a failed assassination attempt in October 2007 on Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister who was later killed, and the Sept. 16 car-bombing of Islamabad's Marriott Hotel. That attack killed 53 people.
Among other notable al-Qaeda officials killed in similar fashion in recent months were Rashid Rauf, the mastermind of the foiled 2006 trans-Atlantic airline plot, and Abu Khabab al-Masri, al-Qaeda's premier explosives expert and leading figure in the terrorist group's efforts to create biological and chemical weapons.
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.