Briton killed by drone in Pakistan 'was to be terror chief'

6th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British terror suspect killed in a drone strike in Pakistan last month was being groomed to head a new Al-Qaeda splinter group in Britain tasked with attacking Europe, the BBC reported Tuesday.

It was the latest twist in a reported plot uncovered by Western intelligence agencies to launch simultaneous commando-style raids on high-profile targets in Britain, France and Germany.

Abdul Jabbar, a British citizen living in Pakistan, was being prepared to lead the new group which was to be called the Islamic Army of Great Britain, the BBC said, citing a senior security source overseas.

Intelligence agencies monitored a meeting of 300 militants three months ago in North Waziristan, part of Pakistan's tribal areas, attended by Jabbar and members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, said the BBC.

At this gathering, Jabbar was put forward as leader of the new group which was given the task of organising Mumbai-style attacks in Britain, France and Germany, the source told the British broadcaster.

Intelligence from the meeting led to the drone attack on September 8 which killed Jabbar and three others, said the BBC.

The United States does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the pilotless aircraft in the region.

Britain's interior ministry declined comment on the report.

North Waziristan is a reputed hideout for foreign and homegrown militants linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and is reported to be the operational epicentre of the latest plot.

Intelligence officials last week revealed details of the alleged Al-Qaeda plot to British and US media, which said planning for the attacks was under way but they were not believed to be imminent.

The BBC and Britain's Sky News television reported that commando-style teams of militants planned to seize Western hostages and murder them in a manner similar to the 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai, in which 166 people were killed.

Since then Japan, Sweden, the United States and Britain have issued warnings to their citizens of possible terrorist attacks while travelling in Europe.

© 2010 AFP

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