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'Senior Al-Qaeda commander killed in Pak drone strike had planned to attack West'

London, Sat, 21 Jan 2012 ANI

London, Jan 21(ANI): A senior Al Qaeda commander killed last week had been living for four years in Manchester and was plotting to launch attacks on the West.


Aslam Awan was killed in a drone strike at a compound near Miranshah town in Pakistan's North Waziristan province last week.


A source told the Telegraph that Awan originally belonged to Abbottabad but had been living in Cheetham Hill, Manchester since arriving in the UK on a student visa in 2002.


Rahman had arrived in the UK to study biotechnology at Abertay University in Dundee but left the institution after attending the first day and moved to Manchester where he worked as a mobile phone salesman.


A security source said that Awan alias Abdullah Khorasani was an "important figure" in the remaining al-Qaeda leadership.


"Aslam Awan was a senior al-Qaeda external operations planner who was working on attacks against the West. His death reduces al-Qaeda's thinning bench of another operative devoted to plotting the death of innocent civilians," the source said.


British security sources said he was of "additional concern" due to his links with their country.


Awan was reportedly operating a cell, along with his accomplice Abdul Rehman, enabling young militants to travel to Pakistan and Afghanistan for terrorist training.


Rahman had pleaded guilty in November 2007 to helping Arshad abscond and circulating a letter, which included a reference to Awan's terrorist training. He was jailed for six years. (ANI)


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