DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - A U.S. drone strike has killed an al-Qaeda commander in Pakistan's northwest, the second member of the Islamic militant network killed in the area in less than a week, Pakistani intelligence officials and a Taliban militant said Monday.
Mohammad Ahmed al-Mansoor died Sunday when drone-launched missiles hit a house in Tabbi village in the North Waziristan tribal area, the main sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the country, the officials and militant said.
Mansoor was a close aide to Sheikh Khalid bin Abdel Rehman al-Hussainan, a senior al-Qaeda leader who was killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan on Thursday, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Covert CIA drone strikes have killed a series of senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan's tribal region over the last few years. The attacks are controversial because the secret nature of the program makes it difficult to determine how many civilians are being killed.
Pakistani officials often criticize such strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty, which has helped make them extremely unpopular in the country. But senior Pakistani officials are known to have cooperated with strikes in the past, and many people believe they still do.
There were conflicting accounts of who died in the strike Sunday along with Mansoor.
The intelligence officials said his wife and son were also killed, while the militant said two Punjabi Taliban fighters died with him. The Taliban militant spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being targeted by the government.
Also Monday, Taliban militants armed with a rocket, hand grenades, and automatic weapons attacked a police station in the northwest, killing six people, police said. The attack occurred in Bannu, a gateway to the North Waziristan tribal area and which has been hit by repeated attacks over the years. Three policemen and three civilians were killed, said Wagar Ahmed, a senior police officer.