Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 3 Issue: 17


On April 20, Pakistani forces killed al-Qaeda operative Marwan Hadid al-Suri after stopping him at a roadblock at Khar in Bajaur Agency of FATA (Daily Times, April 23). According to Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, the Syrian militant was “in charge of al-Qaeda operations against Pakistani forces in North and South Waziristan” and was “behind attacks against coalition and Afghan forces in eastern Afghanistan” (Daily Times, April 23). Often labeled as a “bag man,” Pakistani authorities suspect that al-Suri operated a financial network for al-Qaeda (Gulf Times, April 25). According to Pakistani security officials, a notebook was found on al-Suri consisting of instructions on how to create bombs and plastic explosives; al-Suri was an explosives expert and was wanted by U.S. authorities (Gulf Times, April 25). Al-Suri may have had information about the whereabouts of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, but when security forces confronted the minivan that he was riding in, al-Suri opened fire, killing one police officer and wounding another until he himself was gunned down (Daily Times, April 23). This latest success comes shortly after the death of Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah on April 12, who was killed by Pakistani security forces. The Egyptian militant was wanted by U.S. authorities for his role in the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam (Terrorism Focus, April 18).


The Iraqi Interior Ministry announced on April 28 that authorities had killed an al-Qaeda district commander six miles northeast of Samarra (al-Jazeera, April 29). The senior leader, Humadi al-Takhi, was considered the al-Qaeda head in Samarra, a position he took from his older brother, Najim al-Takhi, who was arrested in June 2005; in August, Najim was found dead in Baghdad’s main morgue after he was apparently tortured (al-Jazeera, April 29). His death makes him the third member from his family to die due to involvement with al-Qaeda. Additionally, on April 28 authorities in Salaheddine province announced the capture of Ali Abdel Qader, a suspected al-Qaeda commander in the province (UPI, April 28).


On April 29, Abu Sayyaf militant Abdusalih Dimah was arrested in the Philippine village of Kapayawan on the southern island of Basilan. Dimah was wanted for the 2001 kidnapping of 20 tourists—with three U.S. citizens among them—in the Dos Palmas resort on the Philippine island of Palawan; during the kidnapping, U.S. hostage Guillermo Sobero was beheaded by the militants (Sun Star Zamboanga, April 30). Dimah was captured by a team of U.S.-trained Filipino commandos. Also, on April 24, another Abu Sayyaf member, Sharie Amiruddin, was arrested in Zamboanga City on the southern island of Mindanao. Amiruddin is accused by authorities of planning the Dos Palmas kidnapping, and is also accused of bomb attacks in Zamboanga City and on Jolo Island, in addition to a series of kidnappings on Basilan island in recent years (Sun Star Zamboanga, April 30). Abu Sayyaf, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, is led by Khadaffy Janjalani, who carries a $10 million bounty on his head. While the group at one point numbered in the thousands, authorities allege that its membership has fallen to around 300 due to an effective U.S.-backed military campaign. Just recently, Amilhamja Ajijul, an Abu Sayyaf commander who headed the organization’s urban terrorism unit, was killed by Philippine security forces on April 11 (Terrorism Focus, April 18).