ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s military said Saturday that soldiers killed al-Qaida’s chief of global operations during a raid in the country’s lawless tribal region, a man indicted in the U.S. over a plot to bomb New York’s subway system.
Adnan Shukrijumah was killed, along with two other suspected militants, in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal area early Saturday, the military said.
“The al-Qaida leader, who was killed by the Pakistan army in a successful operation, is the same person who had been indicted in the United Stated,” said a senior Pakistani army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to journalists.
Shukrijumah, 39, held a position that once was Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The FBI lists the Saudi as a “most wanted” terrorist and had offered up to a $5 million reward for his capture.
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. allege Shukrijumah had recruited the three men in 2008 to receive training in the lawless tribal region of Pakistan for the attack. The New York indictment links him to the Manhattan plot and a similar never-executed scheme to attack British subways.
Attorney General Eric Holder has called that plot one of the most dangerous since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Shukrijumah was seen as one of al-Qaida’s best chances to attack inside the U.S. or Europe, captured terrorist Abu Zubaydah told U.S. authorities. Shukrijumah studied at a community college in Florida but when the FBI showed up to arrest him as a material witness to a terrorism case in 2003, he already had left the country.
In 2004, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft called Shukrijumah a “clear and present danger” to the United States.