Top Al-Qaeda leader killed in Pak

WASHINGTON: A top Al-Qaeda leader was killed in a drone missile strike in northwest Pakistan, NBC News reported late Thursday, citing unnamed US officials.

The officials did not identify the person killed, but did tell NBC that it was not Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The attack took place in the past days, NBC said, without giving a date.

The officials told the US network that the killing followed an increase in operations targeting Al-Qaeda leaders over the past weeks.

Northwest Pakistan has seen a surge in US strikes, which fan anti-Americanism in the nuclear-armed Muslim country, since US President Barack Obama took office and put the country on the front line of the war on Al-Qaeda.

Islamabad is under increasing Western pressure to not only target Taliban groups attacking Pakistan, but also Al-Qaeda-linked fighters and the militants who cross over the border and target foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Since August 2008, at least 65 such strikes have killed around 625 people, although it is difficult to confirm the precise identity of many of the victims given that the remote region is largely closed to outsiders.