Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pakistani official tells AFP that Abu Jihad al-Masri is dead

Such press reports -- an unnamed official in Islamabad tells a Western media organ that a specific terrorist has been killed in a specific strike -- are usually false. Just yesterday, such a story said that Abu Akash was killed, and that claim has now been withdrawn. But Abu Jihad al-Masri is a big fish, so here you are:

AFP source, 1 November 2008

It begins:

Al-Qaeda propaganda chief killed in Pakistan strike: officials

ISLAMABAD (AFP) — An Egyptian Al-Qaeda operative described by the United States as the terror network's propaganda chief was killed in a missile strike in Pakistan, security officials said Saturday.
Abu Jihad al-Masri was among several rebels killed when two missiles fired by a suspected US spy drone hit a truck in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan on Friday night, they said.
The United States has offered a one-million-dollar bounty for the death or capture of al-Masri, who has appeared in an anti-Western video introduced by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's number two.

US State Dept. hotsheet on Abu Jihad al-Masri.

I am nearly certain that his real surname is al-Hukaymah, not al-Hakim.

Update: Ash-Sharq al-Awsat has the story, and they include a little of Abu Jihad's biography. Also, a lament appeared today on the Maqreze website of Hani al-Siba'i, but it does not name any specific "martyr".

Update 2 November: Radio France Internationale tells the same story about Abu Jihad, and says it originates from the Pakistani security services.

Update 4 November: Daily Times of Pakistan reiterates that one of the dead in Mir Ali was Abu Jihad al-Masri. As yet there is no firm statement either way from the enemy, whose communications in Waziristan are in poor shape, especially if Abu Jihad was killed along with about 20 others, as is being reported.