The Many Deaths of Ilyas Kashmiri

In 2009, the media reported the death of terrorist leader Ilyas Kashmiri in a drone strike. It was very upsetting to David Coleman Headley, who had been plotting with Kashmiri to conduct the Mumbai attacks and the planned attack on a Danish newspaper. The death report on Kashmiri turned out not to be true, and according to the U.S., which has indicted Kashmiri in the Headley/Rana case, Headley continued plotting with Kashmiri, LeT, and Major Iqbal.

Now Kashmiri is reportedly killed again, also in a drone strike, this time in Pakistan yesterday that occurred as he and his fellow terrorists were sipping tea in an apple garden.

A U.S. official says Kashmiri was the target of the drone attack but could not confirm his death. A local militant commander, Baitullah, says he wasn't killed. But HJI is reportedly confirming his death. [More...]

According to Headley and others, Ilyas Kashmiri had become al Qaeda's Number 3 leader in Pakistan. Kashmiri, was also the leader of the 313 Brigade.

In court pleadings, Tahawwur Rana said LeT withdrew from the Denmark plot in March, 2009, and it was taken over by Ilyas Kashmiri. The Government argued that LeT was involved with both the Mumbai and Denmark attacks.

Asia Times journalist Syed Saleem Shazad, whose tortured body was found last week in Pakistan, interviewed Kashmiri after his first reported death in 2009. Kashmiri spoke to Shazad about his plans for attacks on the U.S. "and its proxies." You can read the interview here.

Shazad, in his just-relased book on al Qaeda, says Kashmiri "hijacked" the Mumbai and Danish attack plan from LeT.

Kashmiri reportedly turned the plan over to Major Haroon Ashique. Major Ashique is an ex-Special Services Group (SSG) officer who worked with LeT’s operational commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.(Headley also talked about Major Haroon and Lakvi, aka "Pasha.") According to some reports, Kashmiri also was a former SSG officer. According to others, he was not. Ashique had been charged with killing the ex-SSG Chief, Maj. Gen. Feisal Alavi, at the request of Ilyas Kashmiri. He went to trial and was acquitted.

The charges in the U.S. indictment against Kashmiri allege his participation in the planned Denmark attack.

So, is Ilyas Kashmiri really dead this time? Or had he already departed the apple garden and is now sipping tea somewhere else?

Update: Colin Freeze at the Globe and Mail reports:

The Guardian reports that an HUJI spokesman faxed a Pakistani television station this weekend with the following statement: “We confirm that our Amir (leader) and commander in chief, Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri, along with other companions, was martyred in an American drone strike on 3 June 2011, at 11:15pm.”

The Times of India has a copy of the fax. GeoTV says an official has confirmed Kashmiri was one of those killed. He also names the others, but says all of the bodies were unidentifiable.

The BBC has this obituary today for Kashmiri.

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  • Display: Sort:
    How many times (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Zorba on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 04:42:24 PM EST
    do we get to claim that we killed the same person?  But then, how many "Number 2's" in al Qaeda did we kill (or purport to kill)?  Now it's the "Number 3's."