Left: a purported photograph of Ilyas Kashmiri after his death. The picture is actually that of Abu Dera Ismael Khan, a Lashkar-e-Taiba fighter who was a member of the suicide assault team that attacked Mumbai, India, in November 2008. Right: Ilyas Kashmiri before his death. The image on the left is published courtesy of the SITE Intelligence Group.
The Asia Times has an interesting update that supports the theory that senior al Qaeda and Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami leader Ilyas Kashmiri is alive. Indian officials believe Kashmiri may have faked his death to allow him to slip under the radar of US intelligence, which is actively pursuing him via Predator and Reaper strike aircraft in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Interestingly, the Indian list of most wanted people also carries the name of Ilyas Kashmiri, who is believed to have been killed in a US drone attack that targeted his hideout in Gowakha village of the Wana area in the South Waziristan tribal area on June 3.
However, Indian authorities believe that true to his reputation of a survivor, Kashmiri might have escaped death once again…
The indications are that Kashmiri intentionally floated the news of his death in a drone attack to avoid the heat following the killing of Bin Laden in Pakistan. His role in the Mumbai terror plot is unclear, but as per his own claims he was the one who thought of such a plan, which was eventually hijacked.
For more information on why we here at The Long War Journal have been skeptical of the reports of Kashmiri’s death, see Threat Matrix report, Is Ilyas Kashmiri really dead? Kashmiri may in fact be dead, but we haven’t seen sufficient proof to confirm this yet. Far too many leaders from al Qaeda, Taliban, and other allied terror groups have been reported killed over the years, only to show up alive later.
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