First US drone attack outside Fata : Major Qaeda man among 6 killed in missile strike
* Intelligence officials say Taliban moving towards settled areas to avoid missile strikes
MIRANSHAH: A major Arab Al Qaeda operative was among six persons killed overnight in a missile strike by a suspected United States drone in Bannu district, a senior security official told AFP on Wednesday.
The suspected drone attack marked the first US missile attack outside of the Tribal Areas despite repeated warnings from Pakistan that such attacks are in violation of international law and Pakistan’s sovereignty, a security official said.
Security sources identified the Al Qaeda terrorist as Abdullah Azam Al-Saudi, who they said US intelligence officials had identified as the main link between Al Qaeda’s senior command and Taliban networks in the Pakistani border region.
Recruiter: “He was the man co-ordinating between Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders on this side of the border, and also involved in recruiting and training fighters,” an Islamabad-based senior security official told AFP. According to local officials, at least seven people were injured. Bannu District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Alam Khan told Daily Times that the pre-dawn missile attack targeted a house in the jurisdiction of Miryan police station that belonged to Dilbar, a member of the Janikhel tribe.
Police said Dilbar’s son Hakeem was also killed in the strike. Khan said the police had so far confirmed killing of two locals in the strike.
Taliban movement: AP reported two other intelligence officials based in Bannu as saying that the Taliban had begun moving away from the border, including districts and other settled areas, in an apparent bid to avoid the missile strikes. Pakistani officials say they are rarely warned of such attacks. staff report/agencies