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Senior al-Qaeda operative reportedly dead in first-ever strike in settled area
 
 
Muhammad Alam & Javed Aziz Khan
Thursday, November 20, 2008
From Print Edition
 
 

 

BANNU/PESHAWAR: Four people were killed and five others sustained injuries when the US drones targeted a house in Janikhel area of Bannu district in the wee hours of Wednesday. The attack marked the first-ever US missile strike in the settled areas of the country.

 

Of those killed in the attack on the house of a local, Paran, in Zindi Alikhel area of Janikhel Union Council, is stated to be Abdullah Azam al-Saudi, a senior member of the al-Qaeda network. The report, however, could not be confirmed from official sources.

 

If the reports of the death of Abdullah Azam al-Saudi in the missile attack prove to be correct, he would be the second high-profile al-Qaeda operative killed in the US missile strikes inside the Pakistani territory.

 

Bannu District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Alam Shinwari told The News from his office in the southern district that the missile hit the house of a local in Janikhel around 3:45 am, killing four persons and injuring five others.

 

The owner of the house, he added, was among those wounded in the attack. Janikhel had become a de facto tribal area for the past several months after militants spilled over there from the North and South Waziristan agencies as well as from the Bannu Frontier Region. The area had almost become a ‘no-go area’ for the police.

 

According to some reports, three among those killed in the attack were foreigners, including two Uzbeks and a Saudi national. Some of those wounded were also said to be foreigners but their names could not be ascertained.

 

Reacting strongly to the US attack in Bannu, the MPA hailing from Janikhel, Adnan Wazir, announced to submit an adjournment motion in the legislature against the air strike. “No one among those killed in the attack was a foreigner nor were they terrorists. Innocent locals were killed in the attack, which is a violation of the borders of the country,” Adnan Wazir said.