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‘Senior Al Qaeda commander killed ’

December 03, 2005


PESHAWAR, Dec 2: A senior Al Qaeda commander has been killed in the Thursday missile attack at a house in the North Waziristan Agency, sources said.

The sources said that Al Qaeda operational commander Hamza Rabia, said to be of Syrian origin, was among the five killed in the missile attack on a mud-house in Asoray village in Mirali tehsil, to the east of North Waziristan’s regional headquarters, Miranshah.

Officials and tribal witnesses said that among those killed were three foreigners of Middle-Eastern origin. While the administration in Miranshah claimed the casualties were the result of an explosion inside the house, tribal witnesses insist that a hail of missiles fired from unmanned air vehicle struck the house at around 1.45 am.

A drone is usually armed with two hellfire missiles and judging from the six explosions, the locals claimed they had heard, it is possible that more than two UAVs took part in the Thursday’s action.

The sources said that Hamza, who carried the local alias of Nawab to disguise his identity, was among those killed but his body as well of two other foreign militants were quickly taken away by their comrades and buried at an undisclosed location.

Hamza had escaped a similar attack at his location in Mosaki in Mirali on Nov 5 that had left eight people dead including his wife and children. Hamza was said to have been slightly wounded in the leg.

The authorities then had also attributed the incident to an explosion caused by an improvised explosive device.