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U.S. drone strike allegedly kills al-Qaida India leader

Two U.S. drone strikes allegedly killed a Pakistani Taliban commander and the senior figure in al-Qaida's newly-announced India branch.

By Fred Lambert
U.S. drone strike allegedly kills al-Qaida India leader
A RQ-1 Predator from the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron lands at Tallil Air Base, Iraq on Jan. 20, 2004. (UPI Photo/Suzanne M. Jenkins/AFIE) | License Photo

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. drone strikes killed the head figure of al-Qaida's Indian branch following another attack that reportedly killed a senior commander of the Pakistani Taliban, according to Pakistani tribal and government sources.

The Express Tribune reports that a drone attack Saturday destroyed much of a compound in the Tirah Valley of Kyber Agency, a federally administered tribal region on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Four people were killed, including Sheikh Imran Ali Siddiqi, the senior member of al-Qaida's branch in the Indian subcontinent, which was announced by Al-Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahri last month.

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Siddiqi's death was confirmed by the branch's spokesperson.

Another drone attack the same day struck a vehicle in the Margha area of Shawal, in North Waziristan, killing four suspected militants and wounding another. Pakistani government officials said that Muhammad Mustafa, a senior commander in the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, was killed.

A drone strike that killed eight militants in the same area Monday was reported to have targeted a local Taliban commander. Numerous such strikes have been reported in previous months.

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The TTP has suffered setbacks since its former leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in late 2013, prompting a riff among the group's tribes. This was exacerbated by disagreements in strategy amid a Pakistani Army offensive earlier this summer.

Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent made headlines last month when it was first announced, and again when the group unsuccessfully attempted to hijack Pakistani naval vessels in order to attack the U.S. Navy.

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