Zahid Hussain, Michael Evans, Sean O’Neill and Anthony Loyd
Monday, Nov 24, 2008
Britain’s intelligence services appear to have been kept in the dark about Saturday’s US missile attack on a house in northwest Pakistan that reportedly killed Rashid Rauf, a top British al-Qaeda suspect.
Although his death will take a few days to be confirmed officially, the strike by a Predator drone, armed with Hellfire missiles and precision-guided bombs, was the first time that the US had targeted a British suspect hiding in the lawless North Waziristan region of Pakistan.
Two senior MPs yesterday demanded to know whether the British Government had been given notice of the planned attack, which was a CIA operation controlled from a US military base in Nevada.
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
Patrick Mercer, Tory MP for Newark, said the attack had “ultimately led to the execution of a British subject”. He called for a clear statement from the Government to explain what was known about the planned attack. Andrew Dismore, Labour chairman of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, wanted to know whether British intelligence services had been consulted by the Americans.
Senior British officials, however, made it clear that intelligence of such sensitivity was not automatically shared by the Americans, adding that Saturday’s strike was a strictly US operation.
The reported killing of Rauf and four other terrorist suspects, including an Egyptian called Abu Zubair alMasri, appears to have dealt a serious blow to al-Qaeda’s network operating from Pakistan’s tribal region.
This article was posted: Monday, November 24, 2008 at 12:33 pm