The strike on the compound in Damadola, Pakistan, where Ayman al-Zawahiri. al Qaeda’s number two in Command, was believed to be attending a dinner to celebrate a Mulslim holiday, has netted at least one high-level al Qaeda operative. Pakistani intelligence has confirmed that Abu Khabab al-Masri, al Qaeda’s chief bomb maker and chemical weapons expert. Counterterrism expert Dan Darling reported that Masri ran al Qaeda’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Program, known as “Project al-Zabadi” and was likely involved in the foiled Amman WMD attack.
After the U.S. ejected the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, Masri’s training camps were discovered.Tapes were discovered and the results of Masri’s experiments were aired on CNN.
Masri had a $5 million dollar bounty on his head. The Rewards For Justice program lists Masri’s resume:
Midhat Mursi al-Sayid ‘Umar AKA Abu Khabab al-Masri, is an explosives expert and poisons trainer working on behalf of al Qaeda.
He operated a terrorist training camp at Derunta, Afghanistan where he provided hundreds of mujahidin with hands on poisons and explosives training. Since 1999, he has proliferated training manuals that contain recipes for crude chemical and biological weapons. Some of these training manuals were recovered by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Masri also was a close associate of Nasar Mustafa Setmariam [AKA Abu Musab al-Suri]; “Nasar worked closely with Midhat Mursi al-Sayid ‘Umar (a.k.a. Abu Khabab al-Masri) to train extremists in poisons and chemical during his time in Afghanistan, and was also involved in training at the al-Ghuraba terrorist camp.” al-Suri was recently captured in Pakistan, and was chief ideologue and leader of al Qaeda in Europe.
It is indisputable that Abu Khabab al-Masri was a high level al Qaeda operative and leader, and a dangerous man with intimate knowledge of explosives and al Qaeda’s WMD program. Claims the airstrike in Damadola only killed innocent villagers can now be laid to rest.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.