US Missile Strike Kills Top al-Qaida Leader, Ilyas Kashmiri, in Pakistan

A leading al-Qaida military commander, Ilyas Kashmiri, has been killed by an American missile strike in Pakistan's tribal area, his extremist group confirmed Saturday, as it vowed revenge on the United States.

When Ilyas Kashmiri's name cropped up during the David Coleman Headley investigations, Indian security agencies were not surprised. For almost two decades, they have had several similar encounters with Kashmiri, one of the deadliest terrorists to come out of Kashmir insurgency.

Ilyas Kashmiri, who had a pathological hatred for India and a long history of launching cross-border terror attacks, had in recent years become obsessed with the idea of provoking a war between India and Pakistan in order to distract Pakistan's attention from its campaign against al-Qaeda, according to a new book Inside al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 by the murdered Pakistani investigative reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad, the only journalist to have interviewed Kashmiri.