U.S. Drone Strike Kills Top al-Qaeda Figure in Pakistan

The United States has scored another key victory in its war against terror after a recent drone strike killed a top al-Qaeda official in Pakistan.

A Pakistani intelligence official said on Saturday that Ilyas Kashmiri, who heads a militant group allied with al-Qaeda, was killed in South Waziristan near the Afghan border. Also reportedly killed in the unmanned drone aircraft attack were five close allies of Kashmiri, who was erroneously reported to have died in a drone attack in September 2009. The Pakistani intelligence official said the drone attack was carried out after a tipoff from local agents.

“We were closing in on him and he switched off his satellite phone and cellphone and he wanted to cross the border to Afghanistan to find a hiding place,” the official said. “It was a tipoff by us since we were closely monitoring his movements.

If proven true, Kashmiri’s death may be considered a major step towards repairing the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. The relationship between Washington and its South Asian ally turned sour following the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden near Islamabad on May 2 in a U.S. mission that was reportedly kept secret from Pakistan.