The hottest news tonight is apparent CIA missile attack aimed at a key al Queda figure.
A U.S. airstrike in Pakistan targeted al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, but it was unclear if he had been killed, U.S. sources knowledgeable about the strike said in Washington.
CNN quoted sources as saying the CIA had ordered the airstrike on buildings after receiving intelligence that Zawahri was in a village near the border with Afghanistan.
ABC News quoted Pakistani military sources as saying five of those killed were “high-level” al Qaeda figures.
Pakistan was investigating the reports, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said.
“Our investigation is still going on … I cannot confirm anything,” Ahmed told Reuters.
Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and the Egyptian-born Zawahri have eluded capture since U.S.-led forces toppled Afghanistan’s Taliban government in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Since 9/11, tales of the demise of several key enemy figures have come and gone, usually proving premature or unsuccessful. Significant in this story is that the CIA felt their intelligence was solid enough to carry out an attack within Pakistan, an attack whose political fallout will be interesting to follow. Still, should Zawahiri be found to have been hurried along to the long dirtnap, it would not be without a trace of irony.
In a video aired last Friday, Zawahri congratulated Muslims “on Islam’s victory in Iraq” and said the United States was being defeated there.