Thirteen dead in south Waziristan, among them an Egyptian who just might be the infamous Dr. Z per the latest scurrilous rumor — although as far as I can tell, the only person circulating that rumor is Roggio and only then to debunk it. Quote:
The presence of Arab al Qaeda operatives in Azam Warzak has led to speculation that a senior al Qaeda figure may have been killed. “An al Qaeda fugitive from Egypt” was reported to have been among those killed, The Nation reported. This has raised the hopes that Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian-borne second in command of al Qaeda was among present during the strike.
But several senior Egyptian members of al Qaeda are known to operate in Pakistan’s tribal areas. These include Abu Khabab al Masri, Abu Ubaidah al Masri, Abdul Rahman al Masri al Maghribi, and Sheikh Essa. Abu Khabab, Abu Ubaidah, and Maghribi were believed to have been killed in the January 2006 Damadola airstrike but the reports were false.
Any evidence to suggest that there was, in fact, a very high-value target at the scene? Actually, yeah — the fact that the U.S. is a tad more gun shy since the Pakistani elections about doing this sort of thing for fear of offending the new anti-Musharraf, pro-Islamist government. If you’re going to send Santa down the chimney in that political environment, it had better be for a good reason. Cross them fingers.
As for the glorious demise of America’s most zaftig traitor, I hate to splash a little morning-after cold water but do note that the Zawahiri video released this week about the death of al-Libi — caused by the same airstrike that allegedly killed Gadahn — carried the usual as-Sahab English subtitles. Gadahn’s been rumored to be the guy responsible for those, so if he’s around and at work, he’s obviously not enjoying his virgins. Bummer.
UPDATE (EM): I would remain skeptical, as Allahpundit wisely suggests. The Taliban and al-Qaeda would use any American attack as a way to stir up some rage in the post-election environment, and dragging out the body (parts) of an Islamist “hero” like Zawahiri would be tailor-made to deliver riots a-plenty. If they don’t announce the blessed martyrdom of Dr. Z soon, it didn’t happen.