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Cia assasinates terror suspect in pakistan { May 16 2005 }

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Posted on Mon, May. 16, 2005
Killing of suspect attributed to CIA

By Douglas Jehl

The New York Times

WASHINGTON - The killing of a suspected operative of al Qaeda in Pakistan eight days ago by a missile launched from a remotely controlled CIA aircraft was the latest such strike in a shadowy effort that Pakistani and American officials have sought to hide, according to two former counterterrorism officials.

The killing of Haitham al-Yemeni was first reported Friday night by ABC News but denied the next day by Pakistan's Information Ministry. The CIA has declined to confirm or deny the reports.

But an account provided by the former counterterrorism officials said the strike occurred May 7 in the Pakistani province of North Waziristan, in the tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.

The missile was fired by a Predator aircraft operated by the CIA from a base hundreds of miles from the target, the former officials said. A U.S. government official confirmed that al-Yemeni had been killed by a Predator.

Little is known about al-Yemeni, who is not under that name on the government's publicly available lists of most-wanted terrorism suspects. But the former officials said he had been under surveillance by the CIA, whose officers have been working with U.S. Special Forces in Pakistan for more than two years as part of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other senior members of al Qaeda.

The American official and the former counterterrorism officials who confirmed that al-Yemeni was killed by a CIA missile would not allow their names to be used, citing Pakistani sensitivities and the CIA's efforts to keep details of its activities in Pakistan from becoming widely known.

The missile strike on al-Yemeni followed the capture by Pakistan this month of a high-ranking al Qaeda figure, Abu Faraj al-Libbi. The CIA played a major role in gathering intelligence that led to al-Libbi's capture, the current and former American officials said, though Pakistan has described that arrest as a purely Pakistani operation.

Only a small number of al Qaeda members are known to have been killed by missiles fired from the CIA-operated craft. Among them were five people, one an American citizen, killed in Yemen in 2002.

Another died in a strike, also denied by Pakistan's government, on an al Qaeda member in Pakistan last year.

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