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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Pentagon: U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan kills al-Qaida leader

Tribune News Service

WASHINGTON – Qari Yasin, an al-Qaida leader, was killed during a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan earlier this month, the defense department said Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Yasin planned the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad as well as the 2009 ambush in Lahore on the Sri Lankan cricket team, a Pentagon statement said.

He died following a counterterrorism airstrike on March 19 in Afghanistan’s Paktika province, according to the statement.

Yasin was responsible for “dozens” of deaths, the department said.

His death “is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said.

Fifty-three people were killed in Islamabad in 2008 when a truck carrying explosives rammed a security barrier at the Marriott Hotel.

In Lahore in 2009, masked gunmen attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team.

The Lahore attack killed six Pakistani police officers and two civilians, the defense department said.