The Globe and Mail reports that Rashid Rauf, an alleged Islamist extremist with al-Qaeda links, was killed in northwest Pakistan earlier today by what is believed to be a missile strike from a U.S. drone aircraft.
Rauf is suspected to be the British ringleader of a group that plotted to use liquid explosives to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners. He was among five victims of the missile attack, which targeted a house near the North Waziristan town of Mir Ali.
Villages around Mir Ali have been targeted before. The area is believed by intelligence sources to be a hive of Taliban and al-Qaeda activity.
|“There have been at least 20 strikes in the last three months, reflecting U.S. impatience over militants from Pakistan fueling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and fears that al-Qaeda fighters in northwest Pakistan could plan attacks in the West.” – Globe and Mail (Nov. 22)|
The deadly plot, of which Rauf was suspected of being a part, was uncovered in 2006 with the help of Pakistani intelligence. It reportedly had the potential to kill on the scale of the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks and resulted in the tightening up of controls on carry-on luggage by air passengers worldwide.
These now quite frequent missile attacks on targets in Pakistani territory by U.S. forces seem to have become a major tactic in the Global War on Terror. And, judging from official Pakistani reaction, they are a growing source of diplomatic tension between Pakistan and the United States. At least, that is the official line.