Yazid who? Pak said he’s dead, key in Osama’s inner circle

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid,who has appeared in a video warning India of Mumbai-style terror strikes if it tried to attack Pakistan....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 11, 2009 2:56:11 am

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid,who has appeared in a video warning India of Mumbai-style terror strikes if it tried to attack Pakistan,was reported killed by Pakistani officials in the Bajaur tribal area along the frontier with Afghanistan in August 2008.

He is the same man who in December 2007 claimed responsibility for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto,telling Adnkronos International “we terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat (the) Mujahideen” and that al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri had ordered her killing in October that year. al-Yazid has also been linked to the 2008 bombing of the Danish embassy in Islamabad.

An Egyptian militant and the al-Qaeda commander of operations in Afghanistan,53-year-old al-Yazid’s real name is Mustafa Ahmed Muhammad Uthman Abu al-Yazid and he is also known as Sheikh Saeed. He served time with al-Zawahiri in an Egyptian prison for his involvement in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat. He later joined the Islamic Jihad and set out for Afghanistan in 1988 where he is said to have played a role in founding al-Qaeda.

According to The Washington Post,al-Yazid is a founder member of the al-Qaeda’s Shura leadership council and has been a trusted adviser to Osama bin Laden for more than a decade. When bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership were exiled from Pakistan to Sudan in the 1990s,Yazid served as financial manager for some of bin Laden’s business enterprises there.

The September 11 Commission identified al-Yazid as al-Qaeda’s “chief financial manager” and said he opposed the September 11 hijackings “because he feared the US response to an attack.” The Post quoted Yasser al-Sirri,an Egyptian political exile who runs the Islamic Observatory Center for Human Rights in London,as saying that al-Yazid was also close to Taliban leader Mullah Omar and feared,correctly,that US retaliation would result in the Taliban downfall. But he was said to have helped in the financial arrangements of the hijackers.

“If you meet him,you’d never believe he’s a militant,” al-Sirri was quoted as saying. “He’s a very,very quiet person.” His appointment as the al-Qaeda commander of operations in Afghanistan meant he would be the liaison with other militant networks active along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

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