“Our information and sources confirmed to us that an al-Qaeda senior leader for Pakistan and Afghanistan was targeted in the drone strike and was killed,” a militant official told Reuters, adding that the information had been passed to the security services by local sources and phone intercepts in the region.
Pakistan's online newspaper Dawn likewise identified one of those killed as Farooq, also known as Umer Ustad. He was reportedly in charge of al-Qaeda’s activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan and had served as a spokesman for its Pakistani operations since 2009.
Sources told the paper that a drone fired two missiles at a compound in Khar Tangi, a village in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, next to the border with Afghanistan. North Waziristan is a mountainous tribal region of Pakistan, which is known as a stronghold for militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Militant groups in Pakistan’s northern tribal areas are reported to have suffered significant losses in recent months after Pakistan launched an offensive in June against insurgents in its northern tribal areas, called Zrb-e-Azb, in addition to continuing US drone attacks. Dawn reports that on Saturday nine alleged Pakistani Taliban fighters were killed across the border in a rural area of Afghanistan by a US air strike.