Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Friday, September 16, 2011

U.S. drones strike another body blow to al Qaeda (or so we're told)

An American drone aircraft has killed another top al Qaeda operative in Pakistan. Abu Hafs al-Shahri, the terror group's chief of operations in Pakistan, was killed earlier this week.

CIA drone strikes made headlines from time to time, but they've been going on for years. It turns out, Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda has been severely crippled by them.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports that the loss of al-Shahri is another body blow for al Qaeda's core.

In the past four months, at least three other senior terror leaders have been killed: Atiyah al Rahman, al Qaeda's most recent No. 2; Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior commander charged with planning foreign attacks; and Fazul Mohammed, one of the key operatives behind the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Earlier this month, senior leader al Qaeda leader Younis al Mauritani was captured in Pakistan.

All of these losses have occurred after bin Laden was killed on May 1.

Michael Leiter, who until July headed the National Counterrorism Center, says al Qaeda, now run by Ayman al Zawahiri, is critically wounded, but "there's nothing static about counterterrorism."

"Really, the ranks of al Qaeda in Pakistan have been very seriously thinned. So, I think they could still pull off an attack, but I think it is much less likely that they could pull off a catastrophic attack like 9/11," Leiter says. more