US drone strike kills 5 in Pakistan

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Islamabad: At least five militants, including a key al-Qaeda leader, were killed today in a US drone attack in Pakistan’s troubled North Waziristan region.

The strike took place in the Khar Tangi area of Datta Khel district in the region, where the Pakistani military has been battling Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants since June.

A security official said that five people were killed when two missiles fired from the drone hit a compound.

The compound was completely destroyed in the attack.

One of the dead was identified as Umer Farooq who served as al-Qaeda’s spokesman in Pakistan.

Also known Umer Ustad and Ustad Farooq, he was also working as al-Qaeda chief for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

His killing came a day after Pakistan forces killed top al-Qaeda operative Adnan Shukrijuma in raid at a house in South Waziristan.

The chief of al-Qaeda’s global operations, Shukrijuma was wanted by the US over a 2009 plot to attack the New York subway system.

North Waziristan has long been used as shelter by the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants and has frequently been targeted by US drones.

The Pakistani military launched a major offensive in North Waziristan in June and say they have killed more than 1,000 militants so far.

For almost a decade, American drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt have been deeply unpopular with the public.

Pakistani officials have publicly condemned the drone strikes, saying they violate sovereignty.

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