Iraqi Qaida operative among seven militants killed in Pak

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A Muhammad

Peshawar, Feb 21 (PTI) An Iraqi al-Qaida operativenamed al Zaid al-Iraqi Al-Baghdadi was among seven militantskilled in a US drone attack in the restive South Waziristantribal region of northwest Pakistan today, intelligenceofficials said.

Abu Zaid Al-Iraqi, who was aged between 35 and 40years, looked after the terrorist group''s finances inPakistan''s tribal region, the officials told PTI. The Iraqioperative came to Afghanistan in 2007 and shifted to SouthWaziristan Agency the following year, they said.

He spoke Pashto and tribal dialects fluently and hadblended in with the tribal society, the officials said.

"No one knew that he was a foreigner as his accentwhile speaking Pushto was excellent," an official said.

Two Arabs, two Turkmen and two Punjabis also died inthe drone strike in Kara Panga village near Wana, theheadquarters of South Waziristan Agency, early this morning.

Taliban and al-Qaida elements are active inWazirsitan, from where militants launch cross-border attackson US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Today''s missile strike was the first one since USofficial Raymond Davis was arrested in Lahore on January 27for shooting and killing two armed men he said were trying torob him.

There had been speculation that the US had put dronestrikes on hold to curb rising anti-American sentiments inPakistan as it worked for the release of Davis.

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