US drone strike in Pakistan kills four, including al-Qaeda suspect

US drone strike in Pakistan kills four, including al-Qaeda suspect
Pakistan's military said it had killed Shukrijumah, a senior Al-Qaeda leader wanted by the US over a 2009 plot to attack the New York subway system.

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - Four suspected militants were killed, including an alleged member of al-Qaeda, and two were injured when a US drone strike hit a house in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, Pakistani military officials said.

The strike came a day after Pakistani forces killed a major al Qaeda commander, Adnan el-Shukrijumah. The US Federal Bureau of Investigations had offered a bounty of US$5 million (S$6.61 million) for his capture in connection with a plot to bomb the New York subway system.

Six Pakistani military officials confirmed Sunday's drone strike and three said a member of al-Qaeda was among the dead. They said he operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan and his name was Omar Farooq.

"A pilotless drone hit the compound of suspected militants, we have information that four were killed and two injured," a military official told Reuters.

"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 phone intercepts.

The drone strike took place in Khar Tangi village in Datta Khel, North Waziristan, a mountainous region bordering Afghanistan. Khar Tangi is about 45 km west of 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 take place.

The Pakistani government often publicly protests drone strikes, calling them an infringement of national sovereignty.

But many Pakistanis suspect their government privately colludes to help identify targets, a policy that would be extremely unpopular if it was made public.

Drone strikes in Pakistan stopped for the first six months of the year while the government held peace talks with the Taliban. But the talks failed and the strikes resumed days before the military announced a major anti-Taliban offensive in North Waziristan on June 15.

Military officials say they have killed more than 1,000 militants in the North Waziristan fighting so far. A second front has been launched in nearby Khyber Agency.

Access to North Waziristan is strictly controlled. The military ordered most of the civilian population to leave their homes before fighting began, so independent reports on the fighting are rare.

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