US military says senior Al-Qaeda leader Musa Abu Dawud killed in Libya raid

One of the militants killed in a US air strike in Libya over the weekend was a high ranking Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) official. (REUTERS)
Updated 28 March 2018
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US military says senior Al-Qaeda leader Musa Abu Dawud killed in Libya raid

WASHINGTON: One of the militants killed in a US air strike in Libya over the weekend was a high ranking Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) official, the US said on Wednesday.
The strike on Saturday, the first against Al-Qaeda militants in Libya, killed "two terrorists" as part of efforts to deny militants a safe haven in the country's vast desert.
The military had not said who the target of the strike was until now.
The US designated Abu Dawud as a terrorist two years ago.
He began engaging in terrorist activity as early as 1992. He was a senior member of the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), now known as AQIM, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and participated in multiple terrorist attacks in that capacity, according to the US.
As a senior leader for AQIM, Dawud is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks, including the Feb. 4-5, 2013 attack on the military barracks in Khenchela, Algeria, that injured multiple soldiers and a July 2013 attack on a Tunisian military patrol in the Mount Chaambi area that killed nine soldiers.


Nine Iranians detained for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka

Updated 2 min 59 sec ago
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Nine Iranians detained for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka

  • Nine Iranians were caught with 107.22 kg of heroin onboard a trawler bound for the country on Monday

COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan court remanded nine Iranians in custody after they were caught with 107.22 kg of heroin onboard a trawler bound for the country on Monday.

Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne permitted the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) to detain and interrogate the suspects, and ordered it to submit a report to the court on the progress of the investigation.

The vessel was tracked on Sunday morning by a joint operations team comprised of PNB agents, a police special task force and the Sri Lankan navy ship Suranimala off the southern coast of Galle.

Security forces seized the vessel and arrested the nine Iranians, after which the suspects and boat were transferred to PNB custody in the capital.

At a press briefing on Sunday night, Police Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekara said that 99 packets of heroin had been found hidden in four fertilizer bags onboard the boat, and that the suspects had posed as fishermen.

He added that the trawler had been at sea around 14 days, and that on seeing the approaching Suranimala, the crew had dumped an estimated 500 kg of heroin into the water. Mobile and satellite phones had also been found and confiscated.

“It was a joint operation and a great victory in combating the drugs menace,” Lt. Cmdr. Isuru Sooriyabandara said.

As the suspects were unable to communicate in English, the PNB said it would seek assistance from the Iranian Embassy in Colombo to help with translation. Embassy sources, meanwhile, claimed that the nationalities of the nine detainees had not been confirmed.

Early this year, a 24-year-old Iranian woman was arrested by the PNB at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo for smuggling cannabis.