PESHAWAR, July 6: A ‘commander’ of the Haqqani network and an Al Qaeda operative were among the 17 people killed in drone strike in North Waziristan earlier this week, according to official sources.

They said those killed in the strike in Serai Darpakhel area near Miramshah Bazaar included Mullah Akhtar Zadran, a ‘commander’ of the Haqqani network, and Abu Saif Al-Jazeri, an operative of Al Qaeda.

Also killed in the strike are said to be two Punjabi militant ‘commanders’ — Rana Ashraf and Naveed Butt. The other 13 victims were ‘foot soldiers’, the sources said.

However, there was no independent confirmation of the claim.

Local people are never allowed to go near the scene of a drone strike, which is immediately cordoned off by militants to retrieve the dead and wounded. Government officials rely on local contacts and radio intercepts to figure out the identities of the victims.

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