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PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN — Pakistani authorities once arrested an American citizen now known to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike in the country, but he escaped after being released on bail.
The Obama administration revealed Wednesday that Jude Kenan Mohammad died in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal region, making him the fourth American citizen killed by unmanned aircraft in Pakistan and Yemen.
Mohammad was indicted by federal authorities in 2009 as part of an alleged plot to attack the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, VA. Before he could be arrested, authorities said, Mohammad fled the country to join Islamic militants in Pakistan’s tribal region.
Pakistani intelligence officials arrested Mohammad on Oct. 15, 2008, after he tried to enter Mohmand, a tribal area considered a sanctuary for al-Qaida and Taliban militants, without the permission required for foreigners to travel to the tribal region.
He was 20 at the time, and his family in the U.S. said he was abroad visiting his Pakistani father. U.S. consular officials in Pakistan visited Mohammad and provided him with consular assistance.
Mohammad appeared in court in the town of Shabqadar in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Oct. 17, 2008, wearing the long shirt and baggy trousers common among Pakistani men. Police said they were interrogating the American to determine why he had come to the area, but gave no indication at the time that they suspected he had links with militants.
Mohammad was eventually booked on charges of weapons possession for allegedly carrying a dagger and traveling without proper documents, but was released on bail. He failed to show up for a court hearing on Sept. 5, 2009, bolstering suspicions that he was on the run.
It’s unclear what Mohammad did in the time between when he was arrested in Pakistan and killed in a U.S. drone strike.