An alleged member of al-Qaeda and three other suspected militants were killed, and two injured when a US drone strike hit a house in northwest Pakistan yesterday, Pakistani military officials said.
The strike came a day after Pakistani forces killed top al-Qaeda commander Adnan el-Shukrijumah, for whom the FBI had offered a US$5 million bounty in connection with a plot to bomb the New York subway system.
Six Pakistani military officials confirmed the drone strike and three said a member of al-Qaeda was among the dead. They identified him as Omar Farooq and said he had operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“A pilotless drone hit the compound of suspected militants; we have information that four were killed and two injured,” a military official said. “Our information and sources confirmed to us that an al-Qaeda senior leader for Pakistan and Afghanistan was targeted in the drone strike, and was killed.”
The officials said their information came from local sources and telephone intercepts.
The drone strike took place in Khar Tangi village in Datta Khel in the tribal region of North Waziristan. Khar Tangi is about 45km west of the Miranshah, North Waziristan’s capital.
One military official said six men were killed in the attack. Drone strikes often have conflicting death tolls because independent witnesses can rarely access the areas where they occur.
The Pakistani government often publicly protests US drone strikes, calling them an infringement of national sovereignty.
However, many Pakistanis suspect Islamabad privately colludes to help identify targets, a policy that would be extremely unpopular if it were verified.
Drone strikes in Pakistan stopped for the first six months of the year as the government held peace talks with the Taliban.
However, when the talks failed, the strikes resumed, just days before the Pakistani military launched an anti-Taliban offensive in North Wazirisitan on June 15.
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