A Birmingham terror suspect accused of playing a “key role” in the alleged transatlantic airline bomb plot has been killed by a US missile strike in Pakistan.
Rashid Rauf, from Ward End, was accused of masterminding a plan to use liquid explosives concealed in soft drink containers to bring down 10 transatlantic jets and kill as many as 3,000 innocent civilians.
Two senior MPs called for the government to reveal whether it knew in advance about the US missile strike.
Andrew Dismore, the Labour chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, told The Sunday Times he would ask the committee to investigate whether British intelligence services had been consulted about the attack.
Mr Dismore said: “This is a very serious matter, particularly if the attack was based on intelligence provided by the British security agencies. We can investigate whether British security services had involvement in providing intelligence concerning British nationals in Pakistan.
“If there is any suggestion of complicity of the UK security services in this particular incident then that is certainly something we would want to take into account in our work on this subject.”
Speaking to the paper, Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP for Newark and former shadow security minister, said: “This raises the question of how much co-operation the British intelligence agencies provided in what is ultimately the execution of a British subject. The government must explain its involvement and its future policy in this area.”
Though charges against him were dropped in Pakistan, Rauf remained a target for the CIA and MI5 and is believed to have played a major role in radicalising young British Muslims who have visited the subcontinent.
Rauf fled to Pakistan following the murder of his uncle, Mohammed Saeed, in Alum Rock, Birmingham, in 2002. He remained the prime suspect in the killing, and West Midlands Police were attempting to extradite him before Saturday’s missile attack.
The strike which killed Rauf targeted a house near the North Waziristan town of Mir Ali which was owned by a Taliban leader known to harbour foreign fighters.
The Birmingham-born militant was one of five people killed in the assault, which also claimed the life of Egyptian extremist Abu Zubair al-Masri.
Pakistani security sources claim the bombing was carried out by pilotless drones armed with Hellfire missiles.
Rauf, 27, was described by US secret services as the “key player” behind the alleged liquid bomb plot. The son of a baker and a former Washwood Heath High School pupil, Rauf owned a flat in Belchers Lane and was raised in a strict religious household in St Margarets Road, Ward End.
Rauf was arrested in August 2006, on a bus in the town of Bawalaphur. His capture is said to have directly led to the arrests of eight alleged conspirators who stood trial at Woolwich Crown Court earlier this year. Seven of those men, including alleged “field commander” Abdul Ahmed Ali, who was found guilty of conspiracy to murder, will face a retrial next year on terrorism charges.
Rauf broke free from custody in Pakistan just before Christmas last year. Although charges relating to the alleged airline plot had been dropped he was still facing deportation to the UK for questioning over his uncle’s murder.