A CIA drone strike on July 5 is reported to have killed an Australian, Saifullah, an alleged jihadist local leader linked to al Qaeda.
Analysis by the Bureau as part of its ongoing drones project has recorded just a handful of western jihadists killed in US drone attacks in the past year, among hundreds of deaths of Pakistani and Afghan alleged militants.
Two missiles fired by a drone struck a guesthouse near the main bazaar in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, at around 11pm (Pakistan time) on Tuesday. Six people were reported killed and five wounded.
Saifullah, reportedly 50 years old, has been described as a middle-ranking al Qaeda leader, though little more is known about him.
A spokesperson for Australia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry told the Bureau: “We are aware of reports that an al Qaeda commander, Saifullah, allegedly an Australian, was killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan on 5 July. The relevant agencies are currently investigating the alleged Australian connection.”
If his death is confirmed Saifullah would be the second al Qaeda commander killed by CIA drones in Pakistan in the past four weeks. US intelligence sources last night finally confirmed that they now accept that Ilyas Kashmiri, one of al Qaeda’s most senior leaders, was indeed killed in a drone strike on June 3.
The Obama administration has been hesitant to believe reports of Kashmiri’s death, which have been claimed on many previous occasions.
This article was originally published on Australian ‘al Qaeda boss’ killed in drone strike