Pentagon confirms death of Al Qaeda leader in drone strike even as terror group threatened to bomb elections

Washington, US - Ahead of warnings issued by Federal authorities to several U.S. states, to remain on guard ahead of the Election day on November 8 after reportedly receiving a threat from Al ...

• The senior Al Qaeda leader was identified as Faruq al-Qahtani

• Pentagon said al-Qatani was brought down in a “precision strike”

• Al Qaeda has threatened to launch a 9/11 type attack on the day of the U.S. Presidential elections

Washington, US - Ahead of warnings issued by Federal authorities to several U.S. states, to remain on guard ahead of the Election day on November 8 after reportedly receiving a threat from Al Qaeda militants - now, the Pentagon has announced that a senior Al Qaeda militant was silenced. 

Calling it a ‘precision strike’, the Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said that the drone attack in north eastern Afghanistan had managed to kill al-Qaeda's emir for eastern Afghanistan - Faruq al-Qahtani. 

The Saudi-born, Qatari national was one of the top militant leaders who had been on America’s list of most wanted terrorists since February.

The strike, undertaken on October 23 in Afghanistan’s Kunar province had also managed to bring down 15 other insurgents, the Afghan government spokesman Abdul Ghani Mosamem added in a statement. While not revealing the exact details of those killed, Mosamem said that two Arabs and several other Pakistani Taliban fighters were brought down.

al-Qahtani is said to have plotted against the U.S. on many occasions, as a senior member, leading the plans and was also accused of being involved in plots targeting Europe.

Cook further added that a different strike was launched to kill another senior al-Qaeda leader, Bilal al-Utabi but the result of the strike hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Talking about the strike that managed to silence Qahtani forever, Cook said, “This successful strike is another example of U.S. operations to degrade international terrorist networks and target terrorist leaders who seek to attack the U.S. homeland, our interests and our allies abroad.”

The U.S. has been at war with Al Qaeda ever since the 9/11 attack tore through the heart of the country, claiming several lives in 2001. 

In 2011, the infamous leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden was killed.

Merely two months back, on the 15th anniversary of the horrific attack, Al Qaeda had issued a chilling warning, stating that they would launch another 9/11 esque attack on American soil.

The threat was taken very seriously by U.S. authorities, who have not only intensified security across the country but have simultaneously also increased attacks against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. 

Now, intelligence reports have further fuelled fears of a possible attack by the terror group during the 2016 presidential elections on November 8.

According to reports, local authorities, backed by Federal officials and an intelligence tip off have put New York City, Texas and Virginia under high alert.

Local law enforcement officials have however been warned that even though the threat is of a relatively low level, security needs to be tight and uncompromising.

Spokesman Steve Coleman was quoted as saying that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates airports, tunnels and bridges around New York City, continues high levels of patrol it has had in place.

The New York City Police Department said in a statement, “We are aware of the information and are working with intelligence agencies and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”

U.S. intelligence agencies have said often that al Qaeda and its affiliates are still the top counter terrorism priority for the agency.

Meanwhile, in an official statement, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that his office was monitoring the situation.

Abbott even urged Texans to remain vigilant. 

On the other hand, Brian Coy, a spokesman for the Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, said, "We are doing everything we can to keep Virginians safe, and we're confident they are going to be able to vote safely on Election Day."

An official said on conditions of anonymity that authorities were currently engaged in assessing whether there was an actual plot, fearing that the states named might not be the real targets and it could just be misdirection. The official added, “Another possibility is that this is just an attempt to inspire someone here to mount an attack.”

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security are said to be concerned of so-called "homegrown" militants who could be inspired to attack within the country.


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