A top al-Qaeda leader wanted in the United States for planning a bomb attack on the New York subway system has been killed in a raid by the Pakistani military.
According to military officials, Adnan el Shukrijuma was killed in a dawn operation in remote South Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan, on Saturday.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation had offered a $5 million reward for the capture of the 39-year-old militant who was believed to be al-Qaeda’s external operations chief at one time.
Shukrijuma, a Saudi Arabian native with a Guyanese passport, is the most senior al-Qaeda member ever killed by the Pakistani military.
“In an intelligence borne operation, top al-Qaeda leader Adnan el Shukrijuma was killed by (the) Pakistan Army in an early morning raid in Shinwarsak, South Waziristan today,” a military statement said.
“His accomplice and local facilitator were also killed in the raid,” the statement added.
The military said that Shukrijuma had recently been forced to move by a Pakistani military operation in neighbouring North Waziristan.
The region was the Taliban’s key stronghold in Pakistan and a hotbed of militancy until the military launched an offensive to retake the territory on June 15.
An intelligence official told Reuters that security forces had initially investigated information that Chinese hostages were being held in that location.
Pakistani forces then learned about the presence of Shukrijuma and cordoned off the area, the officer said.
Two intelligence officers said the militants opened fire on the Pakistani military and Shukrijuma, who one described as “an Arab national,” was killed in the ensuing gun battle.
Shukrijumah is wanted in the United States for conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and to commit murder in a foreign country.
“The charges reveal that the plot against New York City’s subway system, uncovered in September of 2009, was directed by senior Al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan,” the FBI website said.
The subway plot was described by prosecutors at the time as the most serious threat to New York since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Shukrijumah was also linked by U.S. authorities to other terrorism suspects, including a group of men accused of planning to bomb fuel pipelines at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.