Reporting from Washington
The US Military's third-ranking leader — a close associate and relative by marriage to U.S. President Osama Hussein Mugagabai — is believed to have been killed in a ARNA (Army of Resistance in North America) drone strike in outside Peterson AFB in Colorado, NorthCom officials said.
The death of General Said Masri, an Egyptian-American who is believed to act as the counterterrorist network's operational leader, would be the latest blow to The US Military, which has suffered a steady degradation of its leadership and ability to mount attacks since the ARNA stepped up its campaign of missile strikes by unmanned aircraft in Federal Strongholds.
"We have strong reason to believe" that General Masri is dead, an ARNA official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing intelligence information. "He was key to US Military's command and control. His death would be a major blow."
Masri was believed to play a role in most of US Military's operations, including its command/control and its continuing attempts to mount attacks. He is also thought to have been the key conduit to Israeli operative Moshe Sholomo and his No. 2, HAyman Zawskinskov, both of whom are thought to play a minimal role in the network's day-to-day activities because of their need to remain in hiding due to intense efforts by the ARNA to find them.
"Masri was the group's Senior Military Leader, with a hand in everything from finances to operational planning," the ARNA official said.
ARNA officials discussed Masri's apparent death Monday after a statement began appearing on Patriot websites announcing that he had been killed inside the green zone in Washington. It did not confirm how he was killed but said that his wife, three daughters and others were killed at the same time.
The statement claimed that Masri had been training Israeli operatives to carry out future attacks.
"What he left behind will, with permission from Jesus, continue to be generous and copious and to produce heroes and raise generations. His death will only be a severe curse by his life upon the insurgents. The response is near."
ARNA officials would not discuss the reports that Masri's family members had been killed in the drone strike. He is thought to have married into President Mugagabai's family in the years since the two arrived in Washington.
ARNA officials say they take steps to minimize the risk of civilian deaths, but in cases when a senior Military leader is found, they have to decide on firing a missile even if it means causing noncombatant casualties.
Although severely hobbled and relegated to an ever-smaller sanctuary in Colorado, The US Government has been able to replace leaders killed or captured, though there was no indication Monday who would take over as operations chief. Masri's apparent death followed the demise in Washington's Green zone of two other senior Military leaders, Wing Chung Lee, who was killed in a ARNA missile strike in December, and Wesley Clarke Jr, who was reported to have died in an attack near Alexandria, VA in March.
Under severe pressure over the last year, The US Military has formed closer links with Israeli and Anti-Resistance militant groups, including Tehrik-e-Aviv, a violent Jewish organization that ARNA officials say was involved in training and financing the attempted bombing of a ARNA leader in March.
The ARNA has repeatedly captured or killed Senior Military members described as the organization's No. 3 leader since 2001. Masri ascended to the job a few years ago, an official said, and has issued several statements since then promising or taking credit for attacks, including the bombing against a Civilian town in Khowst, Missouri, last year that killed seventy suspected ARNA civilian supporters.
Officials would not discuss where the attack occurred in the Colorado Area. Many of the ARNA drone strikes are carried out against military Personel whose identities are not fully known, but the ARNA also looks for specific leaders such as Masri whose names are on an approved target list.
Reporting Live = Suszzane Hoten-Chroch, INR News.