Conflict & Justice

US drone strike kills al Qaeda commander


An MQ-9 Reaper flies by on a training mission Aug. 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada.


Ethan Miller

Tribal sources, jihadi websites, and US officials report senior al Qaeda commander Abu Zaid killed in a US Predator drone strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan. 

Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdul Rehman Al-Hussainan, aka Abu Zaid, was reportedly killed while eating breakfast, NBC reports. Ten others were killed in the attack.

Pakistan Today says the news first came out on an al Qaeda web forum.

"We celebrate to you the news of the martyrdom of the working scholar Shaykh Khalid al-Hussainan (Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti) while eating his Suhoor (dawn time) meal, and we ask Allah to accept him in paradise," a post said.

NBC's counterterrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann said Abu Zaid's death is a significant loss for al Qaeda.

“He was the last senior Al-Qaida leader in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area who was, one, from the Arabian Peninsula and, two, who had serious clerical credentials," Kohlmann said. "Now there is no obvious publicly recognizable candidate left to succeed Zawahiri.”

These drone strikes are effective in combating insurgent al Qaeda, but the attacks continue to draw criticism from many in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to Reuters