The Pakistanis may not like the Predator attacks in the lawless frontier territories, but the US continues to prove their effectiveness.  They scored a big hit this morning when a drone-launched missile killed Rashid Rauf, the al-Qaeda plotter behind the failed 2006 transatlantic bombing attack.  The bombing also killed another wanted senior AQ figure:

The alleged Al-Qaeda mastermind of a 2006 transatlantic airplane bombing plot was killed in a US missile attack in northwest Pakistan early Saturday, officials said.

Rashid Rauf died when a missile hit a tribesman’s house in the village of Alikhel, part of a border district known as a stronghold for Al-Qaeda and the Taliban militants.

Also among the five killed in the early morning incident was Egyptian Abu Zubair al-Misri, another wanted Al-Qaeda operative, a senior Pakistani security official said on condition of anonymity.

“The transatlantic bombing plot alleged mastermind Rashid Rauf was killed along with an Egyptian Al-Qaeda operative in the US missile strike in North Waziristan early Saturday,” a senior security official told AFP.

Pakistan can complain all it wants, but in Rauf’s case, they have no one to blame but themselves.  They had Rauf in custody after the plot unraveled in 2006 but refused to extradite him.  Instead, Rauf escaped in December 2007, and most people presumed he went back to the terrorist camps — a presumption that found confirmation today.

The Telegraph has an interesting thumbnail history of Rauf.  His career started with murdering his uncle and transformed itself into high treason in a short period of time.  Rauf apparently masterminded the “liquid bomb” scenario that now forces travelers to limit fluids to 3.5 ounces in carry-on luggage.  He had every intention on killing people, especially his fellow Brits, in large numbers, as part of his efforts for al-Qaeda.

The speed and accuracy of the missile attacks over the last few months has been rather breathtaking.  The US has found some excellent intelligence sources in the FATA, which has to have AQ leadership wondering which day will be their last.  Pakistan continues to object, although some wonder how seriously, but the US has to keep playing out this string as long as possible.  At some point, those cowards in the caves will have to start purging their organizations to eliminate the potential leaks, and that’s when the best opportunities will appear.