ISLAMABAD: Eight German al Qaeda men, who were killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan earlier this month, were among the several dozen European militants allegedly being trained in Pakistan’s tribal regions to strike in their home countries.
Officials here and locals from Mir Ali town, where these militants were based, said at least three out of eight had dual nationalities – Saudi Arabia and Turkey – but none were of Pakistan or Afghan origin.
Earlier reports suggested that all of them were of Turkish origin. According to estimates, around 150 ‘home-grown’ militants from Germany had joined al Qaeda in various parts of the world. Most of them are reportedly in Pak-Afghan border regions.
The drone hit them in Mosaki village, north-east of Mir Ali, while they were holding a crucial meeting inside a compound close to Masjid Bilal near District Headquarters Hospital of North Waziristan.
Among the killed militants, Brusely was the operations in-charge of Ittehad Jihadul Islami (Alliance for Islamic Jihad), an umbrella organisation under which all Europeans, or at least Germans, work. He was operating under the local name of Fayyaz. Gagreen Gill, a German of Turkish origin, was taking care of finances for European militants in the North Waziristan. His local name was Siraj. Milton Smith, whose local name was Jamal, was an expert in bomb making.
Wash (Mustafa) and Johnson (Wasal) had dual nationalities of Germany and Saudi Arabia.
Anderson (Waqas), Paterson (Shaheen) and Peterson Mckenzie (Usman) were also among those killed in the drone strike.
Information supplied by a Pakistani-German jihadi led to the United States predator drone attack in which these militants were killed. An official said that the two missile strikes near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan tribal area followed intelligence passed on by Rami Mackenzie, 27, during interrogation following his arrest in the middle of this year by Pakistani security officials in Bannu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2010.