Wanted Palestinian reported killed in US airstrike in North Waziristan


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Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim

The US may have killed a wanted Palestinian terrorist during an airstrike in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan on Jan. 9.

Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim, a member of the Abu Nidal Organization who was wanted by the US for his role in the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan, and subsequent murder of 22 hostages, is said to have been killed in the US airstrike in the village of Tappi in North Waziristan.

Rahim, who was released from prison in January 2008 after serving 22 years in a Pakistani prison, was reported to have been killed, Pakistani intelligence officials told The Associated Press.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment on reports of Rahim's death, nor would they disclose if he was the target of the strike.

North Waziristan remains a nexus for al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and a host of Pakistan and South and Central Asian terror groups. The Jan. 9 strike took place in a region run by Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar, who is considered 'good Taliban' by the Pakistani state as he does not advocate attacks against the Pakistani military and government. Yet a host of terror groups who conduct attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and against the West shelter in Bahadar's territory.

The US government has offered $5 million rewards for information leading to the arrests of Rahim and of Wadoud Muhammad Hafiz al Turki, Muhammad Abdullah Khalil Hussain ar Rahayyal, and Muhammad Ahmed al Munawar, the three other members still at large of the Abu Nidal terror cell responsible for the Pan Am flight 73 hijacking and subsequent murder. Turki, Rahayyal, and Munawar were also released by Pakistan in January 2008; their whereabouts are unknown.

Zayd Safarini, the leader of the Flight 73 hijacking cell, was captured by the US in Malaysia on Sept. 28, 2001, shortly after his release from a Pakistani prison. In May of 2004, Safarini was convicted of murdering two US citizens and sentenced to 160 years in prison.

Safarini brutally executed Rajesh Kumar, a US citizen, by shooting him in the head in front of the passengers after Safarini's demands for a new flight crew were not met. The other 21 passengers were killed as Pakistani commandos prepared to board the plane. The terror cell opened fire on the passengers and lobbed hand grenades into the seats.



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READER COMMENTS: "Wanted Palestinian reported killed in US airstrike in North Waziristan"

Posted by Tyler at January 15, 2010 11:06 PM ET:

If its true that Rahim (and potentially other members of the Flight 73 cell) joined Al Qaeda and the Taliban upon their release, I'll take an educated guess that the recruitment process began in prison.

But the big question would be in what capacity might he have been serving with the jihadists. Trainer? Obviously he'd have learned skills on weapons, explosives, infiltration he could impart. Poster Boy? Ideological differences aside, he has been actively fighting the US & Israel longer than almost any other member of Al Qaeda.

Or more insidiously, Al Qaeda was using him as a mercenary of sorts. Either to gain influence in the Palestinian territories or coordinate new attacks against the West.

But hey, in the same day we've learned of the death of one guy who attacked an American airliner 25 years ago and another, Qasim, who helped attack another American airliner just three weeks ago.

Posted by Civy at January 15, 2010 11:26 PM ET:

From the KIA list, it sure looks like N Waziristan is home base for terrorists all over the globe.

Posted by Tyler at January 16, 2010 10:08 AM ET:

A thought: If Rahim was killed on January 9, that would be around the time that the family of Mansur al Shami, a fellow Palestinian, got news that he was killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan. Last Sunday was when they say they got the word, which would be January 10.

There aren't that many Palestinians in Al Qaeda, and even fewer living in the mountains of Pakistan. To kill two in the same weekend in the same general area would be quite the coincidence.

Might we have tagged both Rahim and al-Shami as they reminisced around the campfire about the squalor of the refugee camps? If so, might that mean Rahim, the Libyan-trained infiltrator, helped coach Barawi the CIA bomber?

Posted by Rhyno327 at January 16, 2010 12:02 PM ET:

I gotta give you ur props Bill&Co, you do an outstanding job. Your info is very accurate, other news agencies quote you, the praise is deserved. Like CIVY said, N Waziristan looks like "Terror Central" i wish we could carpet bomb the whole area, but we won't. One thing i do know: REVENGE is a dish best served cold. This one is like karma, you do bad-you GET bad..maybe 10x over. I hope we get OBL before Obama's term ends, i will surely break out the good stuff that day..down the hatch, BZ guys..

Posted by DANNY at January 16, 2010 1:12 PM ET:

Yeah don't we wish we could drop the bombs that end wars in this spot. But alas it wouldn't end this war, it's going to go all the way to the plain of Meggdio. real close to where Abu Nidal group is supposed to come from.

Posted by Sashland at January 16, 2010 6:34 PM ET:

Those wacky palestinian freedom fighters... maybe they should get a state of there own and then they wouldn't be fighting us, right? Just ask Pat B, its all justified by Amerika's imperialism and invasion of Their lands. They have no other agenda.
Free sirhan sirhan... what did he do anyway??? Whatever is was, I'm sure it was Bush's fault; he created osama, you know...

All America needs to do is turn its back on the zionists, embrace islan, submit to the proper authorities, and there will be peace for all (all that are left)

On the other hand, when did predators become so beautiful?

Posted by Rhyno327 at January 16, 2010 9:06 PM ET:

Danny, bible prophecy is some scary stuff..Har Megiddo, where the plain has been drenched in blood over the centuries, a place where its said to come to a head. The combatants? Good vs Evil? I pay more attention to WHEN the 3rd TEMPLE is built, that would surely set it off. Mao may have been right about religion, but as time goes by, the Israeli's take more and more..the "Dome of the Rock?" Well, i guess set the demo charges and run like hell!! No, wait.HELL will be upon us at that time..tick tock tick tock..