An Iraqi al-Qaeda operative named al Zaid al-Iraqi Al-Baghdadi was among seven militants killed in a US drone attack in the restive South Waziristan tribal region of northwest Pakistan today, intelligence officials said.
Abu Zaid Al-Iraqi, who was aged between 35 and 40 years, looked after the terrorist group's finances in Pakistan's tribal region, the officials said. The Iraqi operative came to Afghanistan in 2007 and shifted to South Waziristan Agency the following year, they said.
He spoke Pashto and tribal dialects fluently and had blended in with the tribal society, the officials said.
"No one knew that he was a foreigner as his accent while speaking Pushto was excellent," an official said.
Two Arabs, two Turkmen and two Punjabis also died in the drone strike in Kara Panga village near Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan Agency, early this morning.
Taliban and al-Qaeda elements are active in Wazirsitan, from where militants launch cross-border attacks on US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Today's missile strike was the first one since US official Raymond Davis was arrested in Lahore on January 27 for shooting and killing two armed men he said were trying to rob him.
There had been speculation that the US had put drone strikes on hold to curb rising anti-American sentiments in Pakistan as it worked for the release of Davis.