Jordanian al Qaeda operative killed in US airstrike in Pakistan


Mansur al Shami on an al Qaeda propaganda tape released on the Internet.

An al Qaeda operative from Jordan was killed during a recent US airstrike in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan,

Mansur al Shami, a longtime jihadi whose real name is Mahmud Mahdi Zeidan, was confirmed to have been killed in a statement released on the Al Faloja and Shamukh al Islam jihadist web forums, according to the SITE Institute.

“The martyrdom of Mahmud Mahdi Zeidan… on the soil of Pakistan, the land of the diligent and of the mujahedeen is confirmed,” the statement read.

Shami’s family was also contacted by a member of al Qaeda who was present during the strike. “A man called me on Sunday and said my brother died in the US attack,” Shami’s brother Omar told AFP. “He spoke bad Arabic and said he escaped the attack. I think he is a Pakistani.”

Shami served as an ideologue and as a bodyguard for senior al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu Yazid, the group’s commander in Afghanistan and chief financier. According to Shami’s brother, he worked for Taliban Radio in Afghanistan in 2001. Shami’s father is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that is a gateway to al Qaeda, and Shami’s other brother Ibrahim was captured by US forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and spent five years at Guantanamo Bay before being released in 2006.

Shami starred in two propaganda tapes in the past six months. The tapes were released by As Sahab, al Qaeda’s primary media production arm. His last tape was released just one week before his death was announced. On Jan. 4, 2010, Shami was seen in a sermon for the Eid al Adha holiday. In August 2009, Shami also appeared on a tape that provided advice to foreign fighters flocking to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is unclear which US strike in North Waziristan killed Shami. There have been three strikes in North Waziristan since Jan. 4; however, it is possible Shami was killed in a prior strike, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

“Al Qaeda often has a lead time for its tapes to be released, usually days or weeks, for security reasons,” the official said. “He [Shami] could have been killed in any of the strikes from New Year’s Eve onward.” The US has conducted six strikes in North Waziristan since another Jordanian carried out a suicide attack on a CIA base in Khost Province that killed seven CIA officials and a Jordanian intelligence officer.

US intelligence officials would not comment on the target of the strike that killed Shami; however, given that he is Yazid’s bodyguard, it is likely the US was gunning for the al Qaeda leader.

Yazid has been targeted by the US several times since January 2008. As al Qaeda’s chief financial officer, he is responsible for managing and disbursing the terror group’s funds. Yazid is also one of al Qaeda’s top propagandists; he has released numerous audio and videotape statements. Most recently, Yazid released a statement on the death of the Jordanian suicide bomber and claimed the attack was in revenge for the death of two top al Qaeda leaders and the former leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

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

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  • aslamtu says:

    “Shami’s father is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that is a gateway to al Qaeda…”
    Where is the evidence for this statement? Are you suggesting that these two organizations are ideologically similar?

  • Bill — in what universe is the Muslim Brotherhood a “gateway” to al-Qaeda? How many millions of people consider themselves members of the MB, or identify with its ideology? How many of them eventually become al-Qaeda members?

  • Tyler says:

    A Palestinian from Jordan, father in the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood. Which means in all likelihood his family was personally close to Abdullah Azzam, deceased mentor to Osama and ideological founder of both Al Qaeda and Hamas. Brother spent some time in Guantanamo.
    That to me says he’s about as blue blood Al Qaeda as you’ll find. Combined with a degree in Islamic law and supposed 10 years time spent fighting in AfPak dating back to before the invasion says he was more than a mere bodyguard. Of course many top tier Al Qaeda leaders have spent time as ‘bodyguards’ (Ali Mohammed, Mohammed Atef, Saif al Adel)

  • Bill Roggio says:

    The Muslim Brotherhood advocates the imposition of Islamic State using political means. Disaffected members of the MB who think that method is too soft often join more radical groups, such as Hamas, al Qaeda, etc. The Egyptian Islamic Group broke off from the MB. No where did I state all members of the MB are AQ, etc. If you don’t believe me, that’s fine, read up on it at the CTC or over at Doug Farah’s site.

  • Xavier says:

    Here is the stance of MB and/or its leader
    Destroying the West from within
    Imposition of Islam in the West
    Jizya tax on non-muslims
    Caliphate from Spain to Indonesia
    Gender segregation
    Sharia law for governance(not just Muslims’ personal law)
    Women suffrage
    Given their agenda, they are a threat. Their agenda includes destruction of West and imposition of Islam on the West.
    I don’t see how MB is any lesser threat than bin Laden’s AQ.

  • FredP says:

    Lawrence Wright’s excellent book titled The Looming Tower is a super read that highlights Bill’s point regards the connection between the MB and AQ.
    Bill, I applaud you on this wonderfully informative site.

  • Mr T says:

    Wasn’t Al Zawahiri a member of the Muslim Brotherhood? Wasn’t he jailed for it and then started Al Qaeda? The faux outrage on the connection between the two sounds like taqiyah. Someone is trying to dissimulate the nexus between the two organizations. I don’t think you can get much more of a connection than one of the founders of Al Qaeda getting his start in the Muslim Brotherhood.
    Oh, they are not as radical. Both organizations have killed people in the name of jihad. The Muslim brotherhood articulated the original philosophy on which all subsequent Salafi Jihadist activity is based.
    Here is a good article on the connection between the two organizations called “Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood: United by Strategy, Divided by Tactics.”

  • Paul says:

    Does anybody really know how large these open protests are & are more people taking up arms against the occupation?

  • cm says:

    Bill Roggio = 1 / aslamtu = 0


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