Ilyas Kashmiri May Not Be Dead

When I saw the photo a purported HUJI spokesman released with a fax acknowledging Ilyas Kashmiri had been killed in Friday's drone attack, I was skeptical. The other available photos of Kashmiri, who is 47, were taken ten years ago in 2001 and look nothing like the man in the dead photo -- unless it was his son. The photo of the dead man (don't look if you're squeamish) the group released claiming it was Kashmiri does not does not depict a 47 year old man. Also, he was clean shaven. When Syed Saleem Shazhad interviewed Kashmiri in 2009, he had a long white beard dyed with reddish henna. A side by side of Kashmiri and the dead guy depicted in the photo is here.

Long War Journal reports it's not Kashmiri. The dead person in the photo is Abu Dera Ismael Khan, one of the Mumbai suicide bombers and a Lashkar-e-Taiba fighter. He was 25 in the photo. Ismael Kahn was 25 when killed. Again, don't look if you're squeamish as this one has several dead people, but here's the photo correctly identified. [More...]

No Government official can confirm Kashmiri was killed because there's no DNA to test. The bodies were smattered to smithereens by the drones, and the locals buried them right away and sealed off the area.

Nor can anyone agree on who Amir Hamza and Mohammed Usman are who reportedly were killed with him. Some say Kashmiri had moved to Wana in South Waziristan to hold stategic meetings ten days ago, because North Waziristan was no longer safe. Others say he arrived at the apple orchard in Wana moments before the bomb went off.

No one can even confirm the fax confirming Kashmiri's death is legitimate. Kashmiri's group has never released media reports before. Not only that, the original statement supposedly released by HUJI misspelled the name of the terror group. Arif Rafiq, the Editor of ThePakistan Policy Blog told Long War Journal:

"Though [HUJI is] a Pakistani organization, the group's name is actually in Arabic," Rafiq said. "The group's name is Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami. But the guy who wrote the letter [Abu Hanzla Kashir] misspelled the name in the two instances he used it," Rafiq said. "First, he wrote Harkat-e Jihad al-Islami (grammatically incorrect in both Arabic and Urdu); then, he wrote Harkat-e Jihad-e Islami (grammatically correct in Urdu, both not the official name)."

It seems more than likely some terror group wants to protect Kashmiri and get him safe passage to his next destination, and thinks the best way to do that is to have the U.S., which put him on its five person "wish list" last week, and Pakistan, think he's dead.

Nor has anyone definitively identified Farooq Ahmed, Ameer Hamzah (alternate spelling Amir Hamza), or Mohammed Usman, who reportedly were killed with him. There's more than one militant Amir Hamzah with connections to Mullah Nazir and Kashmiri. Some reports say Hamza is a commander for Mullah Nazir, who lives in Wana. Others say he's an associate of Kashmiri's who usually travels with him. As to Mohammed Usman, Syed Saleem Shazad wrote Usman was killed in a drone attack in October, 2010.

In addition, the U.S. launched drones in the same place yesterday -- Wana,in South Waziristan, home to Mullah Nazir. Why would the U.S. strike again if they were sure they had already taken Kashmiri out?

On a related note, I wonder if the jury in the Tahawwur Rana case avoided the news this weekend of Ilyas Kashmiri's reported death. He figured prominently in David Coleman Headley's testimony. Reading news reports stating as fact that Kashmiri worked with Headley on the planned Danish attack should be out of bounds.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Something is wrong (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 10:06:31 AM EST
    with both of your above the fold photo links, Jeralyn.

    all three work now (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 10:45:53 AM EST
    I had an extra "s" in the first one, it's fixed now. The other two also work, for the third, you need to scroll a bit. Thanks!