Al Qaeda leader Rashid Rauf killed in drone strike, family says

Rashid Rauf while in Pakistani custody. Click to view.

A senior al Qaeda operative who had been plotting terror attacks in Europe and had escaped Pakistani custody in December 2007 was killed in a drone strike, according to family members who are planning to sue the British government.

Rauf’s family is planning on suing the British government for providing information to the US that aided in targeting him, according to the Birmingham Mail.

“The Americans could not have found and killed him without help from British intelligence officers who shared information,” a friend of the Rauf family who has maintained he was innocent told the Birmingham Mail. “The family want answers. They want to see the evidence that Rashid was a dangerous terrorist.”

Rauf’s status has been uncertain for years after he was first reported to have been killed in a November 2008 Predator strike in North Waziristan that was also thought to have killed Abu Zubair al Masri and two other al Qaeda operatives. Shortly after the November strike, Rauf’s family and his lawyer claimed he was still alive. Taliban fighters close to Rauf also said he was alive.

US and British intelligence initially thought Rauf was killed in the November 2008 drone strike, but the assessment changed after an al Qaeda operative detained during a raid in Belgium claimed that Rauf had trained him and dispatched him to Brussels to conduct a suicide attack during a meeting of European leaders, The Times Online reported in April 2009. The operative also said Rauf had plotted attacks in major cities in Belgium, France, Holland, and England. Rauf has also been implicated as being the director of the failed plot to conduct attacks in England on Easter Sunday in 2009.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal said they no longer believe Rauf was killed in the November 2008 strike, but said he may have been killed in one of the more than 270 strikes that have taken place since then. Officials would not comment on the exact strike that killed Rauf.

“It is often difficult to determine when an al Qaeda leader or operative was killed or if they survived targeting,” one official involved in the air campaign against al Qaeda and other terror groups operating in Pakistan told The Long War Journal.

“We don’t have a body, we can’t go there to investigate,” the official continued. “The fact is, that despite our persistent targeting [with drones], the FATA [Pakistan’s tribal areas] remains a no-go area. This is Taliban territory.”

Background on Rashid Rauf

Rashid Rauf has a long pedigree in Pakistan’s terror circles. Rauf’s family is well immersed in Pakistan’s radical jihadi community. He is a relative of Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, a terror outfit that operates in Indian Kashmir. Rauf’s sister-in-law is married to Azhar’s brother. Rauf himself is a member of Jaish-e-Mohammad, which has merged with al Qaeda and moved a large number of its fighters into Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Rauf’s father-in-law and sister-in-law run the radical Darul Uloom Madina, one of Pakistan’s largest Islamic seminaries in Bahawalpur. More than 2,000 students attend the Darul Uloom Madina.

His father founded Crescent Relief, a Muslim charity that collected funds for earthquake relief and is currently under investigation for funneling money to fund the failed 2006 London airliner plot.

Rauf was a prolific operational node in the al Qaeda network. He facilitated the 7/7/05 bombings in London and 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.

Rauf and senior al Qaeda leader Matiur Rehman were the architects of the 2006 London airliner plot. Rehman is a senior al Qaeda leader who is known to manage the “jihadi rolodex,” the list of the tens of thousands of operatives who have passed through terror training camps over the years. Tayib Rauf, Rashid Rauf’s brother, was arrested in Britain for his involvement with the London airliner plot along with 22 other suspects. The British government froze the bank accounts of Tayib and 18 other suspects. Most of the suspects arrested in Britain were British nationals of Pakistani origin.

Pakistani security forces captured Rauf in August 2006 in the city of Bahawalpur. On Dec. 15, 2007, he escaped from Pakistani custody, under dubious circumstances. Police escorts claim Rauf broke free of his handcuffs as he was visiting a mosque while being transported from a court appearance in Islamabad to a jail in Rawalpindi. Rauf’s uncle had convinced police to transport Rauf in a van and had driven the van himself. Several police were charged with being complicit in Rauf’s escape.

At the time of Rauf’s escape, the British government was attempting to extradite him. A senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal that Rauf fled to South Waziristan immediately after his escape.

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

Tags: ,


  • Gerald says:

    Good Riddance to another unrepentant mass murderer.

  • Ali Taj says:

    Pakistan authorities were complicit in his escape.

  • EddieD. says:

    You got to be joking.

  • Mr T says:

    I thought it was that guy whose Uncle helped him escape. And his family wants proof that he is a terrorist?
    These people play us like fools and the worst thing is that people die because of them while we stand around with our heads up our behind worried about what these people will think or how those people will respond.
    Fight fire with fire and there won’t be many of them around to worry about. That includes the older ones that offer guidance & logistical support, the women who provide moral and logistical support, and the children who provide the cannon fodder and soldiers for future attacks and murderous acts.
    In other words, the Dresden approach where we kill them and their supporters and force them into submission or death. They would do that to us if they could. They don’t have the weapons (yet) so they resort to leveraging their assets by acts of terror to force people into submission.
    We are right not to do the same and they are wrong to do acts of terror but where does the world stand? They seem to like the cold blooded murdering terrorists more than the good guys like the USA.
    How far we have fallen to accept acts of terror and murder over civilized nations operating under agreed rules of international behavior.

  • Nic says:

    “Rauf’s family is planning on suing the British government for providing information to the US that aided in targeting him, according to the Birmingham Mail.” For a moment I thought I was reading the Onion.

  • Cp4Ab0115hM3n7 says:

    Thank you Sheriff Drone.
    A job well done. Glad that I have something to cheer about with all these bad weather.

  • neonmeat says:

    I’m sorry but this bit had me in stitches:
    “Rauf’s uncle had convinced police to transport Rauf in a van and had driven the van himself.”
    Only in Pakistan!

  • mike merlo says:

    It sounds like Rauf was severely wounded and eventually died from them

  • Barry Larking says:

    Rauf is wanted as a suspect in the murder of an uncle (and he may have several). He cannot escape to Pakistan any more than anyone from Pakistan ‘escapes’ from the land of their fathers. Rauf is suspected of being the mastermind in the plot to blow up multiple transatlantic scheduled passenger flights using explosives smuggled on board planes in soft drinks bottles.
    The plot was blown early by the U.S.A. anxious to get Rauf. This meant the plotters in the U.K. had to be arrested in a hurry before purchasing flight tickets, at the time seen as crucial evidence of serious intent necessary to a successful prosecution of all concerned. At their trial the defendants said they were planning only to ‘frighten’ and ‘protest’ against British foreign policy, there being no other evidence of intent beyond a home chemistry set up and ‘martyrdom videos for some but not all those arrested. Fortunately (and very luckily) the jury convicted on what they heard and saw. Disgruntled at having had their hand forced before they wee ready, the British officials have never accepted Rauf is in fact dead. This should prove an interesting point at any protracted hearing of the complaint.
    I suggest ‘The Rauf family’ is an euphemism. I suspect these are ‘extended’ family and activists. I suppose they will receive Legal Aid with which to pursue their flimsy case. My anger at this nonsense is somewhat mitigated by the knowledge (of which I am sure and certain) that this will simply mean people who merely despised these Islamofascists and fellow travellers will now hate their guts.

  • Scott P. says:

    Mr. T:
    I couldn’t agree more!

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Drop a hellfire on the next Rauf family reunion.

  • Devendra says:

    These inbred, marrying their first cousins, cretens understand one thing only…..a missile fired by the Reaper.
    If Pakistan claims to be your friend; I guarantee you would NEVER hurt for an enemy. What a bunch of murdering, incestual maggotts these Pakis.

  • Jiminnj says:

    Thats a idea! Have his entire Family meet in a big tent to work out the settlement on the lawsuit then lets drone them!

  • Elmi says:

    Like this mission it is to be in somalia

  • ArneFufkin says:

    “We don’t have a body, we can’t go there to investigate,” the official continued. “The fact is, that despite our persistent targeting [with drones], the FATA [Pakistan’s tribal areas] remains a no-go area. This is Taliban territory.”

    This summarizes neatly our entire folly. This remains Taliban territory because we permit Pakistan to keep it Taliban territory. As Mr. T proposes, let’s take a REAL War to these animals or let’s get out of the region. You’ve got to go find and kill the man-eating tiger where he lives, you can’t allow an ambush killer to hunt on his terms.

  • bob bobbins says:

    What comes around, goes around. he got what he deserved. There is no rest in hell!

  • laurie allan says:

    The British Government can still extradite him………a bit at a time!………..

  • Brian Scott says:

    under the US Constitution, a person should not be deprived of their life without due process.
    Anyone who does not subscribe to this does not understand what it means to be an American.
    It is abhorrent to American and Christian values to intentionally or with wanton disregard kill innocent civilians.
    you draw monsters to your site.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram