Rashid Rauf ‘is still alive,’ British say

Rashid Rauf while in Pakistani custody. Click to view.

As Bill Roggio has reported previously, there are good reasons to believe that Rashid Rauf, a top al Qaeda planner, survived a November 2008 strike in North Waziristan. Some in the CIA and in the press have claimed that Rauf is dead. But Rauf is “still alive” according to recent reports by the British press.

This is especially important because Rauf facilitated the 7/7/05 bombings in London, a follow-on attack that failed on 7/21/05, and a plot against as many as 10 airliners originating from Heathrow Airport in the summer of 2006. That is, Rauf is a prolific operational node in the al Qaeda network.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) cites an anonymous intelligence source as saying, “If anyone tells you they know he is dead, they are lying.”

The Telegraph does not say unequivocally that Rauf is alive; such is the nature of intelligence. However: “MI5 and MI6 believe the British al Qaeda commander who was behind the airlines’ plot may still be alive in Pakistan and plotting [a new] wave of attacks.”

Confirming previous accounts, The Telegraph says Long Islander Bryant Vinas came into contact with Rauf in Pakistan. Vinas, who confessed to plotting against the Long Island Rail Road earlier this year, reportedly provided important information concerning Rauf that led authorities to believe he is still alive and plotting terror. “[Vinas] claimed to have met Rauf who was allegedly planning further suicide attacks, including the alleged bomb plot foiled in Manchester earlier this year.”

The Telegraph also adds an intriguing detail about how al Qaeda terrorists travel to Pakistan. “Security and police sources have helped reconstruct a supply-line of British extremists willing to die for their cause which led from Britain, through South Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan.”

South Africa is a hub for al Qaeda’s British-Pakistan “rat line.” That is certainly interesting.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • don juice says:

    what about Abu Zubair al Masri? did he die in that strike?

  • zotz says:

    The reason we haven’t been hit again in the US by al Qaida is partly luck. Britain has a large ethnic Pakistani population with a radicalized minority that are in full sympathy with the terrorists. On the Guardian forum it is fairly common and permitted for posters to advocate terrorist attacks on civilians in the US and even in Britain. That is their idea of free speech.
    However anyone posting a personal insult is quickly deleated by the monitors. Terrorism is OK as long as one is well-mannered. LOL!

  • Ben says:

    RSA has a large population of radical Deobandi/Tablighi clerics who moved over from India and Pakistan to set up madrassahs — radicalized Americans will occasionally go over there to study. Makes sense that it would serve as a ratline as well.


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