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Qaeda-linked '313 Brigade' appoints slain chief Ilyas Kashmiri's successor

Islamabad, Wed, 31 Aug 2011 ANI

Islamabad, August 31(ANI): The 313 Brigade, an operational arm of the Al-Qaeda, has appointed a new chief, Shah Sahib, following the death of its commander Ilyas Kashmiri in a US drone attack in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal region in June.


The decision came after weeks of consultation among members of various militant organisations active in the Pakistani tribal regions on the border with Afghanistan, Asia Times Online reports.


Shah Sahib, a well-known Taliban commander, has been selected to initiate major alliances and finalise consultations ahead of Eid - the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan - to launch fresh assaults against Pakistan's security forces, the report said.


A South Waziristan-based journalist confirmed the appointment, saying, "Recently, I spoke to one of the leading members of 313 Brigade of the Harakat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami in Wana [the largest town of South Waziristan] and he confirmed the appointment of Shah Sahib as the new leader, but added that his nomination was only for a certain period of time, and then the central shura [council] will choose a permanent amir [leader]."


In addition to running 313 Brigade, Kashmiri was the operational commander of the Harakat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI), an Islamic fundamentalist militant organisation most active in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India since the early 1990s.


Reports of Kashmiri's death surfaced in both local and international media after a June 3 drone strike in a remote village of South Waziristan. Mystery still surrounds his death, but ground sources- both local officials and the Taliban- have persistently confirmed his death. Even the HuJI reported his death in a press release issued to local media outlets. (ANI)


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