Senior Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in Afghanistan; Speculations: May Be Osama Bin Laden
A missile fired by remote control from a pilotless CIA drone aircraft has hit what was believed to be a group of senior al-Qaeda group members in the southeastern area of war-torn Afghanistan, killing at least one of them, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Since, as of now, the Americans have not published the identity of the dead person, prevalent speculations within the various U.S. media channels suggest that he is no other but Osama bin Laden himself.
The current ongoing war in Afghanistan marks the first time Washington has deployed Predator drones armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles, which can be fired by a remote operator watching a live video feed from the drone.
"It was a CIA 'Predator' missile that was fired upon what was thought to be a senior al-Qaeda official," said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He added that the attack occurred on Monday night.
"At least one was killed and possibly others. It's not clear who the individual was," the official said, noting that bad weather conditions in the region had prevented a mission to identify the bodies.
Citing a top Pentagon source, CBS News reported that several senior leaders of suspected terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network died when the missile hit the group near the Zawar Khili cave complex in the mountains of southeastern Afghanistan.
The report added that it was believed that senior al-Qaeda members, including Osama Bin Laden, have been holed up at Zawar Khili since escaping from the Tora Bora area, which was bombed around two months ago.
Meanwhile, CIA Director George Tenet told the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that he did not know whether Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden was dead or alive.
Asked when was the last time the U.S. had any information indicating Bin Laden was alive, Tenet declined to give a public response, "I'd be happy to talk about all of this in closed session," he told the panel. (Albawaba.com)
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