The Federal Bureau of Investigation had offered a $5 million reward for the capture of Saudi national Adnan el Shukrijuma, 39, who it said was believed to be al-Qaeda’s external operations chief at one time.
Shukrijuma, a Saudi Arabian native with a Guyanese passport, is the most senior al-Qaeda member ever killed by the Pakistani military.
“In an intelligence borne operation, top al-Qaeda leader Adnan el Shukrijuma was killed by (the) Pakistan Army in an early morning raid in Shinwarsak, South Waziristan today,” the military statement said.
The remote region borders Afghanistan. “His accomplice and local facilitator were also killed in the raid,” the statement said.
One Pakistani soldier was killed and another wounded, it said. The military said that Shukrijuma had recently been forced to move by a Pakistani military operation in neighbouring North Waziristan.
The region was the Taliban’s key stronghold in Pakistan and a hotbed of militancy until the military launched an offensive to retake the territory on June 15. A senior military official told Reuters five other militants were taken into custody during the raid.
Another intelligence official said that security forces had initially investigated information that Chinese hostages were being held in that location. Pakistani forces then learned about the presence of Shukrijuma and cordoned off the area, the officer said.
Two intelligence officers said the militants opened fire on the Pakistani military and Shukrijuma, who once described as “an Arab national,” was killed in the ensuing gun battle.
Shukrijumah is wanted in the United States for conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and to commit murder in a foreign country.
“The charges reveal that the plot against New York City’s subway system, uncovered in September of 2009, was directed by senior Al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan,” the FBI website said.
The subway plot was described by prosecutors at the time as described as the most serious threat to New York since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Shukrijumah was also linked by U.S. authorities to other terrorism suspects, including a group of men accused of planning to bomb fuel pipelines at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.