Eight militants of German nationality were killed in northwest Pakistan by a suspected United States drone strike on Monday, Pakistani intelligence officials told Reuters. The eight were killed after two missiles from a suspected CIA pilotless aircraft struck a mosque in the town of Mirali.
The officials said that the militants were members of a group called Jihad Islami. No further details were provided.
Mohammad Alam, a resident of Mirali, described to Reuters what had happened: “People were gathering at the mosque for prayers when a missile hit the building. The area has been cordoned off by militants and they are not allowing anyone there.”
The attack comes after the US warned its citizens on Sunday that travel to Europe at the moment could be deadly. According to the alert, the al-Qaeda terrorist organization has planned attacks in Europe similar to the multi faceted mass attack perpetrated in Mumbai two years ago and likely targets are public transportation systems and other tourist venues.
“The State Department alerts US citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe,” the alert warned. “Current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks.”
Britain also increased the threat level from “general” to “high” for its citizens traveling to Germany and France.
According to Reuters, what triggered the travel alerts was intelligence that was received regarding a plot against European targets reportedly originating with a group of individuals in mountainous northern Pakistan, some of which are believed to be European citizens.
The person who is believed to have passed on the information about the terror plot has been identified by the media as Ahmed Sidiqi, a German of Afghan origin, who had been arrested and interrogated in Afghanistan.
According to German counter-terrorism expert Guido Steinberg, Sidiqi was a member of a cell of militants from Hamburg that was believed to be a central component of the conspiracy. The terror cell left for Pakistan in March 2009 and joined Pakistan-based members of the militant organization Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
A CNN report said that the group consisted of 11 members, including a German of Syrian descent and a German of Iranian descent. While under arrest, Sidiqi divulged new, unverified information every day regarding the terror plot, and specifically named Britain and France as possible targets.
It is as unclear at the present time whether Monday’s drone attack is related to the suspected terror plot in Europe.