Proving once again that terrorism is a tough way to make a living, the CIA has just sent al Qaeda's number three head-chopper off to enjoy his seventy two virgins:
Al-Qaeda's third-ranking leader has been killed by a missile fired by an American drone in Pakistan, near the Afghan border, NBC television news reported yesterday.
Egyptian-born Abu Hamza Rabia, who is said to head al-Qaeda's international operations, was among five people killed in a blast at a house where they were hiding in North Waziristan on Thursday. President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan confirmed Rabia's death yesterday.
Quoting unnamed officials, NBC said Rabia was killed by a missile launched from an unmanned Predator drone controlled by the US Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA would not comment. Tribal witnesses in Pakistan said a "hail of missiles" struck the mud house in the village of Haisori. Other witnesses told NBC that missile remnants bearing US markings remain in the area. They also said they had heard six explosions, but it is uncertain how many of these were the result of missile attacks and how many may have been explosives detonating inside the house.
Rabia, in his 30s, took over al-Qaeda's number three spot, behind Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, after the capture of Abu Faraj Farj al-Liby in Pakistan in May, said US and Pakistani security officials.
"Rabia's international portfolio included planning attacks against the United States," said a US official, adding that his death would be a serious blow for al-Qaeda. Rabia was involved in two attempts on President Musharraf's life two years ago and security forces had been hunting him for some time.
The life expectancy of middle and upper management in the terrorist ranks has dropped in the last six months to about four weeks. This is not a very reassuring statistic for those aspiring to move up the organizational ladder. Try to imagine what it must be like for these ambitious young jihadis who, after retiring for the evening, every evening, must lay in bed wondering whether there is even now a missile headed straight for their bedroom window. It must make for a fitful night's sleep no matter where in the world they try to take their rest. Every unexpected noise, every rustle of the wind, must rouse them awake with a start. And you thought sleep apnea would be an insufferable affliction. What these guys have to endure must be pure psychological hell.
It just occured to us: Would the threat of sudden death count as cruel and inhuman treatment under the McCain amendment?