Drone takes out senior Qaeda commander in NWA


A drone strike in North Waziristan Agency on Sunday reportedly killed a senior al Qaeda commander besides three other militants, the second such leader killed in strikes by the unmanned aircraft in three days. The attack on Sunday killed Mohammad Ahmed al Mansoor in Tabbi Area of North Waziristan, close to the agency’s main town Miranshah. The drone fired missiles at a house with Mansoor inside, destroying two rooms and a car. Residents and government officials said four drones had been flying over the area during the attack. A similar drone attack in the agency on Thursday killed another senior al Qaeda commander, Abu Zaid, who had replaced Abu Yahya al-Libi as one of the militant group’s most powerful figures. A US drone had killed al-Libi in June. Al-Libi became al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri’s top deputy following the May 2011 US raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Sources said the death toll might increase as several people present in the house had been injured and a few were critical. Attacks by unmanned US aircraft remain contentious — they are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment. But American officials are said to believe they are too important to halt. Sunday’s US drone strike is the 38th of its kind (counted on daily basis) in Pakistan in 2012. At least 269 people have been killed in such strikes since this year.