The Algerian, known by the nickname Abu Sulayman Jazairi, apparently died May 14 in the strike that killed as many as 14 people and destroyed a compound near the village of Damadola, an Al Qaeda stronghold in northwestern Pakistan, officials said. A knowledgeable U.S. official and a senior European anti-terrorism official said Jazairi was thought to be dead.
U.S. anti-terrorism forces are targeting front-line planners in Pakistani hide-outs, and Jazairi would be another in a series of recent losses for the Al Qaeda leadership, the two officials said.
More also at the Asia Times:
US intelligence is closely monitoring the area, acutely aware of its importance. The strike had some success, taking out two senior al-Qaeda leaders – Sheikh Osman, know for his amputated hand, and Sheikh Soliman. However, a famous Taliban commander, Dost Muhammad, escaped unhurt. **
** Note that when you read an article by Syed you will be reading the Taliban’s agitprop — sometimes they lie, sometimes they don’t; so you will find nuggets of truth in his articles. I don’t think Syed lies but he is sympathetic, and prints verbatim what they tell him.
Update: More from the Pakistan Daily times:
They said the Algerian, known by the nickname Abu Sulayman Jazairi, apparently died on May 14 in the strike that killed 14 people and destroyed a compound near the village of Damadola.
A knowledgeable US official and a senior European anti-terrorism official told the Times that Jazairi was thought to be dead.
They said that US anti-terrorism forces were targeting frontline planners in Pakistani hideouts, and Jazairi would be another in a series of recent losses for the Al Qaeda leadership.
“He was a significant person within the Al Qaeda ranks,” said the European official, requesting anonymity. “Not in the top five, but he’s up there. The suspicion is he was one of those individuals involved in training and targeting Western interests. There is uncorroborated intelligence that he was involved in plots against Europe.”
According to the Times, officials declined to discuss last week’s operation because of political tension in Pakistan over US airstrikes. In fact, it added, some doubt lingers about the identity of the man killed. The report referred to a statement of a senior Pakistani official in which he said he believed the slain man was not the Algerian but another foreign militant.
Despite the confusion, the US and European officials told the paper that their information about the militant’s identity seemed solid.
“There are good reasons to think that Al Jazairi is dead,” the US official said. The European official said that there recently had been allusions to Jazairi’s death on radical websites.
Explosives expert: Jazairi was an explosives expert and “important terrorist trainer”, the US official said.
“When it comes to training, this individual was an important figure … People like him are vital to terrorist plots. That doesn’t mean he can’t be replaced. But when Al Qaeda loses someone with his experience, it matters.”
UPDATE: More at The Long War Journal