As US and Pakistani intelligence attempted to determine who else might have been killed in the Jan. 29 US airstrike in North Waziristan that took the life of al Qaeda commander Abu Laith al Libi, a new, unconfirmed report claimed Adam Gadahn, Laith’s American deputy, died in the strike, as did two Kuwaitis and four other terrorists. US intelligence officials do not believe Gadahn is dead, however.
Sources inside Pakistan told the Nine/Eleven Finding Answers Foundation that US traitor Adam Gadahn was killed, along with Abu Suhail, Laith’s former deputy; Hamza al Somali, who is presumably of Australian or US nationality; Abu Ubayda Tawari Rakhis al Mutairi, a Kuwaiti national; Abu Adil al Kuwaiti, another Kuwaiti; and at least three Uzbek nationals. “It should be noted that the death of the American Gadahn has not yet been officially confirmed,” the Nine/Eleven Finding Answers Foundation reported.
Adnkronos International said Feb. 5 that Abu Adil al Kuwaiti was reported killed in the North Waziristan airstrike, along with Abu Obeida Tawari al Obeidi, a Saudi.
Speculation about Gadahn’s death surfaced immediately after the airstrike, as Pakistani sources told US and Pakistani news agencies that Gadahn had not been seen or heard from since the strike. Gadahn was purportedly attending the meeting chaired by Laith, who was planning al Qaeda’s 2008 campaign in Afghanistan.
Senior US intelligence officials tell The Long War Journal that Gadahn is still alive. Al Qaeda has been quick to lionize the death of its leaders, for propaganda and recruiting reasons. Laith’s death was announced on a jihadi Internet forum within three days of the airstrike in North Waziristan. Al Qaeda has not announced Gadahn’s death.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.