US nails al Qaeda WMD expert

AFP:

A top Al-Qaeda expert on chemical and biological weapons is believed to have been killed Monday in a suspected US missile strike in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, security officials said.

Egyptian militant Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, had a five-million-US-dollar bounty on his head and allegedly ran terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

Officials earlier said that three Arab militants and three Pakistani boys were killed when missiles fired by a suspected US drone hit a house attached to a mosque in the South Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan.

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He served as a trainer at Al-Qaeda's Derunta camp in Afghanistan when it was set up in the late 1990s "where he provided hundreds of mujahedin with hands-on training in the use of poisons and explosives," the website said.

"Since 1999, he has distributed training manuals that contain instructions for making chemical and biological weapons. Some of these training manuals were recovered by US forces in Afghanistan," it said.

It said that his exact whereabouts were unknown but that he may be living in Pakistan. He was still likely to be training extremists, the website said.

Residents in South Waziristan said they heard US aircraft and pilotless Predator drones flying above the area before and after the strike, adding that there had been alarm over similar flights throughout the weekend.

A group of Arabs, believed to be Egyptians, had rented a compound containing the house and a madrassa from a local tribesman, Malik Salat, residents said.

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Both the US-led coalition and a separate NATO force in Afghanistan said they were not involved in the missile strike. However, the US Central Intelligence Agency is also known to operate drones in the region.

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The strike suggest that we are getting some human intelligence on the movements of these guys. While al Qaeda claims that it has people to step up as these guys are taken down, there is little evidence to support that right now. The attack also fits into a strategy of taking out the technicians that make their attacks possible. This guys was dedicated to mass murder for Allah and the world is better off without him.

The CIA drones are flown out of a base in Pakistan I believe.

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