ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 4 (UPI) -- The apparent heir to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. drone attack in southeastern Pakistan, a purported spokesman for the group said.
Pakistan's Daily Times reported a statement handwritten in the Urdu language by an unknown al-Qaida operative, Abu Hamzullah Kasher, was issued in Wana Bazaar Saturday afternoon announcing the death of Ilyas Kashmiri, Pakistan's Daily Times reported.
"Harkatul Jihad al-Islami's 313 Brigade confirms that in Friday's drone attack at 11:15 p.m. our commander-in-chief, Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri, was martyred," Kasher's statement.
The Times said there was no independent confirmation of the claim.
"We have received reports of his death. But we are waiting for conclusive evidence to confirm that Kashmiri has been killed with nine other terrorists," an unidentified Pakistani security official told the newspaper.
A tribal elder in Wana told the Daily Times by phone, "We heard that those killed were Punjabi and Kashmiri's presence at the site of the attack was talk of the town."
Local reports said nine people were killed in Friday's bombing attack by unmanned aircraft in Wana that targeted Kashmiri, a one-eyed militant linked to attacks on Western targets in Pakistan, India and Europe, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Kashmiri is suspected of orchestrating attacks on a Pakistani air base in Karachi last month and an October 2009 attack on an army base in Rawalpindi.
An unidentified Pakistani official had told the British newspaper it wasn't clear if the 47-year-old Kashmiri "was present or not at the time of the attack" on the garden area of a house in Wana.
The Telegraph had reported an unidentified spokesman for the Taliban in Pakistan told media Kashmiri was "alive and safe" and wasn't at the house when the bombing occurred.
The United States posted its maximum bounty of $5 million for Kashmiri's capture or death.
Bin Laden, the plotter behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States, was killed May 2 in a raid by U.S. Navy SEALs at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.