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US drone strike kills another Qaeda commander in NWA

10 December, 2012

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A US drone attack killed a senior al Qaeda commander in Pakistan's northwest on Sunday, military intelligence officials said, the second militant leader to be killed in strikes by the unmanned aircraft in three days.

The attack killed Muhammad Ahmed Almansoor and three others in a village close to Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, near the Afghan border. The drone fired missiles at a house with Almansoor inside, destroying two rooms and a car. Four drones were seen flying over the area during the attack, residents and government officials said.

A similar attack on Thursday in North Waziristan killed another senior al Qaeda commander, Abu Zaid, who replaced Abu Yahya al-Libi as one of the militant group's most powerful figures, intelligence sources said. A US drone attack also killed Libi in June.

Unmanned aerial attacks have crushed al Qaeda's network along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan but have drawn trenchant criticism in the two countries. Al Qaeda has been weakened steadily in Afghanistan and Pakistan since the killing of Osama bin Laden in a raid by US special forces in Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May 2011.

Tabbi village, which is very close to the Afghan border, is said to be a hideout for militants belonging to several groups including those from Hafiz Gul Bahadur and the Haqqani network. The al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, is one of the thorniest issues between Islamabad and Washington. Washington has long demanded that Pakistan take action against the Haqqanis, whom the United States accused of attacking the US embassy in Kabul in September last year.

Pakistan has in turn demanded that Afghan and US forces do more to stop Pakistani Taliban crossing the border from Afghanistan to launch attacks on its forces. Attacks by unmanned US aircraft remain contentious. They are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment.

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