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Kenya alert as top al-Qaeda man is killed

The Standard Digital News
Thursday, June 07, 2012

Kenya’s security agencies were put on alert following reports a drone strike in Pakistan had killed al-Qaeda’s number two Abu Yahya al-Libi.

This is because al-Qaeda had announced it had merged with Somalia’s militant group Al-Shabaab in their terror related activities.

Al-Shabaab has been blamed for several grenade and bomb attacks in Kenya the latest being on May 28 along Moi Avenue which killed one person and injured more than 30 people.

A series of other explosions have occurred in the country killing more than 20 people, which Kenya blames on the terror group since troops crossed to Somalia to hunt down the gang.

Highly placed security officials said they feared the criminal gang would react to the killing of the commander in Kenya following their links.

“We continue to urge for vigilance amongst all in the country and given the reports that the Al-Qaeda commander was killed, things may be bad but we are on high alert,” said one senior officer who asked for anonymity.

Security has been beefed up in major installations and buildings. Managers of skyscrapers were on Tuesday ordered to scale up their security measures to address threats that the terror group may strike anytime.

A US based intelligence firm said at the weekend it had information Al-Shabaab plans to strike in Kenya. And following the killing of the commander, police and intelligence officials said the gang could react with more attacks.

Last year, Al-Qaeda said it had merged with Al-Shabaab.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday “Our government has been able to confirm al-Libi’s death.”

Al-Libi had been deputy to Ayman al-Zawahiri’s, who has run al-Qaeda since Osama bin Laden’s fate was ended last year. Al-Libi had been imprisoned at Bagram air base in Afghanistan for three years before escaping in 2005 and returning to the fight.

Pakistani intelligence sources told Reuters the al-Qaeda second in command was hit in a drone attack on Monday, June 4. “The intelligence official said, according to informants, Libi was seriously wounded in the strike and was taken to a private hospital, where he died,”

This is a solid win in the so-called war on terrorism. al-Libi was the link between al-Qaeda and its most feared franchise, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The fact that he is the second al-Qaeda deputy in less than a year to be killed will hamper Zawahiri’s efforts to replace him. It also will be a blow to morale throughout al-Qaeda’s ranks, U.S. officials believe.

The U.S. has had a standing reward of up to $1 million for al-Libi’s killing or capture. “Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan citizen, is an Islamic scholar who … has since appeared in a number of propaganda videos, using his religious training to influence people and legitimize the actions of al-Qa´ida,” says the State Department.

“Al-Libi is a key motivator in the global jihadi movement and his messages convey a clear threat to U.S. persons or property worldwide.”

Analysts have said that he was in charge of day-to-day operations in Pakistan's tribal areas.

He was believed to be the interface between Pakistan's militant commanders and al-Qaeda operations in Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere.

He was reported killed in a drone strike in Pakistan in 2009, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.


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