Top al-Qaida commander killed in air strike

Top al-Qaida commander killed in air strike

A senior al-Qaida commander who led attacks along the Pakistan border and several other militants were killed in an air strike in eastern Afghanistan, Nato said today.

The strike killed Abdallah Umar al-Qurayshi, who co-ordinated the attacks of a group of Arab fighters in eastern Kunar province.

Abu Atta al Kuwaiti, an al Qaida explosives expert, and several Arab foreign fighters were also killed in the strike, on Saturday.

Pakistan is investigating reports a CIA missile strike killed another senior al-Qaida commander as he travelled in a tribal region near the Afghan border, security officials said.

Sheikh Fateh al-Masri’s death would be the covert US missile programme’s latest blow to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network.

The United States is believed to have launched 21 missiles into north-western Pakistan this month, more than double the number fired in any previous month.

Some of the strikes were aimed at disrupting suspected terrorist plots aimed at Europe, a Western counterterrorism official said.

But, concerned by manned aircraft strikes, security officials said Pakistan has told Nato leaders it will stop protecting US and Nato supply lines to Afghanistan if foreign aircraft stage further cross-border attacks against fleeing militants.

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