A high-ranking al-Qaida figure was killed Thursday in an attack by a drone aircraft in northwest Pakistan, U.S. officials told NBC News.
The officials did not identify who was killed, except to say that it was not al-Qaida’s supreme leader, Osama bin Laden. If the report is confirmed, it would be the first time coalition forces had killed a top al-Qaida figure in almost a year.
The officials said the killing was the result of stepped-up operations targeting al-Qaida leaders in recent weeks.
Pakistan officially denied that any such attack took place, disputing reports that at least four people were killed and four were injured in a U.S. Predator drone strike in the Ladha area of South Waziristan province. The discrepancy between the U.S. and Pakistani reports could not immediately be resolved.
A senior U.S. counterterrorism official confirmed that the al-Qaida operative was
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