Pakistan: Al-Qaeda leader dead, says US intelligence

Islamabad, 10 April (AKI) - An al-Qaeda militant leader linked to several violent attacks in Afghanistan has died, according to US intelligence sources.

Abu Obaidah al-Masri, was believed to have been a key figure within al-Qaeda linked to attacks in the UK and other countries. He reportedly died of "natural causes".

The Egyptian-born militant was described by both American and British terrorism experts as head of external operations for al-Qaeda.

A former military commander in Afghanistan, al-Masri is believed to have directed attacks on US-led forces after the Taiban were ousted in 2001.

But he was also implicated in a planned 2006 trans-Atlantic aircraft plot linked to a London terrorist cell.

Eight men are currently facing charges in a London court of conspiring to murder and endanger aircraft in a plot in 2006.

Al-Masri was thought to have been hiding in Pakistan's tribal areas before he died, and it is not known if al-Qaeda has appointed his successor.


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