Monday, September 5, 2011

Pakistani Forces Capture Senior Al-Qaeda Leader in Quetta

Via The Long War Journal -

The Pakistani military claimed it captured Younis al Mauritania, a senior al Qaeda leader who was directing attacks against the US, Europe, and Australia, along with two associates during a raid in the southwestern city of Quetta.

The Pakistani Army announced today that al Mauritania and "two other senior Al Qaeda operatives, Abdul Ghaffar Al Shami (Bachar Chama) and Messara Al Shami (Mujahid Amino)" were captured in a joint raid that was conducted by the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), the military's notorious intelligence service, and the Frontier Corps Balochistan. The arrests were "conducted with technical assistance of United States Intelligence Agencies," the Pakistani military's press release stated. The date of the raid was not announced. A grainy file photograph of al Mauritania was released.

Al Mauritania "was tasked personally by Osama Bin Ladan to focus on hitting targets of economical importance in United States of America, Europe, and Australia," according to the Pakistani military's announcement.


Last year al Mauritania, who was previously an unknown figure, jumped into the spotlight after he was identified as directing a plot by al Qaeda to attack multiple targets in Europe in a Mumbai-like terror assault. Several news reports incorrectly claimed that he was al Qaeda's so-called "number 3," or third in command. The number 3 designation is often assigned to al Qaeda's suspected operations chief. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda's #3 misidentified again, for more information.]

But in fact, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal last year that al Mauritania is a senior member of al Qaeda's external operations council, the division that is tasked with hitting the US, Europe, and allied nations. Al Mauritania, Adnan el Shukrijuma, and Ilyas Kashmiri are believed to be the senior-most members of the external operations council. Kashmiri is rumored to have been killed in a Predator strike in early June, but the report has never been confirmed.

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