Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for CIA Base Bombing
Attack claimed retaliation for U.S. drone killings of senior militant leaders.
KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 7, 2010 — -- Al Qaeda claimed credit for the deadliest attack against the CIA in 26 years, releasing a written statement saying a suicide bombing that killed five agency officers and two security contractors was retaliation for drone attacks that killed senior militant leaders.
The statement identified the bomber as Humam Khalil Mohammed Abu Malal, a Jordanian doctor described as a double agent by U.S. intelligence officials. Humam Khalil was invited to brief a group of CIA officers in a camp along the Pakistan-Afghan border after promising information about Al Qaeda's deputy leader, Ayman Al Zawahiri.
"He detonated his fine, astonishing and well-designed explosive device, which was unseen by the eyes of those who do not believe in the hereafter," said Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al Qaeda's number three, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Yazid claimed al Qaeda launched the attack as payback for the deaths of three militant leaders: Baitullah Mehsud, the former head of the Pakistani Taliban; Saleh al-Somali, who was in charge of al Qaeda operations outside of Pakistan and Afghanistan; and Abdullah Saeed al-Libi, a senior Libyan member of the group.
All three were killed by the increasingly effective drone campaign in Pakistan's tribal areas. The campaign is run by the CIA, and U.S. officials say drone strikes have killed a dozen senior militant leaders on a constantly refreshed list of 20 top terrorist targets.
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