US adds settled area to hit list: Al Qaeda’s Arab operative killed in Bannu attack
By Abdul Salam, Dawn, November 20, 2008
BANNU, Nov 19: A suspected US drone fired two missiles on a residential compound in Janikhel area of Bannu district on Tuesday night, killing four people and injuring four others, officials said.
This was the first time that a drone intruded 70kms deep inside Pakistani territory and hit a target in the settled area of the NWFP.
Local people reported having seen spy planes flying over the area.
Officials said that the house of a retired serviceman, Dilbar Khan, in Handikhel village, some 15kms southwest of Bannu city, had been hit.
One Arab, two Turkmen and a local militant were killed in the pre-dawn attack. Janikhel is adjacent to the volatile North Waziristan tribal region where drones often fly and hit targets.
Naib Nazim of the Handikhel union council Mir Salam confirmed the missile attack but did not give details of casualties.
Sources said that two injured people, Abdul Hakeem and Rafeeullah, were taken to the Mission Hospital in the city. But they were taken away from the hospital by some unidentified people.
Some people in Bannu said that drones had been flying over the area at low altitude for a few days.
AFP adds: A senior security official in Peshawar said that a major Arab Al Qaeda operative was among six militants killed in the overnight missile strike.
Security sources identified the militant as Abdullah Azam Al-Saudi, a senior member of Osama bin Laden’s terror network who, they said, American intelligence officials had identified as the main link between Al Qaeda’s senior command and Taliban networks in the Pakistani border region.
“He was the man coordinating between Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders on this side of the border, and also involved in recruiting and training fighters,” the official said.
Bannu police officer Alam Sheerani also confirmed the first-ever such attack in the area but did not give details of casualties.
First US drone attack outside Fata - The Daily Times
Senior al Qaeda leader targeted in airstrike in Bannu, Pakistan - Long War Journal
Suspected U.S. Airstrike Kills 6 Fighters in Pakistan - Washington Post