2 al-Qaida operatives die in drone strike

Sept. 25, 2012 at 11:00 PM
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area killed two key al-Qaida operatives, a security official told The New York Times.

The al-Qaida operatives were identified as Turkish origin Seleh al-Turki and Abu Akash al-Iraqi, an Iraqi, but the report said both names were aliases.

The drone strike Monday in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, which U.S. officials have said is a haven for leaders of terror groups, also killed three others, the report said.

Al-Turki was a field operative associated with al-Qaida. "He was not on the (U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations') bounty list, but was a midlevel A.Q. guy," the official told the Times.

Al-Iraqi, who had long been sought by Western counter-terrorism agencies, had been living in Pakistan's border regions for 15 years, having married the daughter of a local tribal cleric, the Times said.

The Long War Journal was quoted as describing him as an important link between al-Qaida and the Taliban.

The other three killed in the drone strike also were foreign militants, the official told the Times.

Pakistan's Daily Times quoted a Pakistani intelligence source telling a local TV channel al-Iraqi had arrived in North Waziristan Agency in 2001. The report said Taliban sources also confirmed al-Iraqi and al-Turki's funerals were held in the Mosaki area of North Waziristan Monday night.

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