DAMADOLA AIR STRIKE
In 01/2006 As-Sahab media branch of Al Qaeda used couriers to deliver its videos by drop near media network offices in Pakistan. In 01/2006 USA intelligence, while monitoring offices of Al-Jazeera T.V Network in Karachi, managed to notice such a drop which led to an intelligence operation to uncover the route between the drop and As-Sahab operational center. Indeed the massage itself was broadcasted in Al-Jazeera on 01/06/2006.
The intelligence operation revealed a possible meeting, scheduled to take place on 01/13/2006, in Damadola village, in Bajaur province, FATA area of Pakistan, about 7 km from the Afghan border. The meeting was supposed to be held between senior Al Qaeda leaders, including Ayman Al Zawahiri, and local Pashtu leaders, such as Sufi Mohammad, to coordinate next operations.
USA launched, on early Friday 01/13/2006, a devastating missile attack from UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) on what was supposed to be an Al Qaeda leadership meeting in Damadola. USA officials said the raid was based on “good reporting” of Zawahiri’s presence in the village at a dinner celebrating a Muslim holiday.
18 people were killed by the missile attack, including 14 from the same family. The event led to the change of methods and As-Sahab materials are, now, distributed through the web only.
According to initial reports Abdul Rehman al-MAghrebi, the head of As-Sahab and Ayman Al zawahiri son in law, was killed in the bombardment. this report was never confirmed officially.
USA and Pakistani officials later admitted that no Al Qqaeda leaders perished in the strike and that only local villagers were killed.
It is still unclear whether the USA information was wrong, Ayman Al Zawahiri, as a precaution measure, changed his timetable in the last moment or, which is also a possibility, Ayman Al Zawahiri was tipped off by the Pakistani Intelligence – ISI itself.
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