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Pakistan Denies Reported Attack on Senior al-Qaida Figure


Pakistan has denied U.S. media reports that a senior al-Qaida operative was killed this week in Pakistani territory near the Afghan border.

The information minister in Islamabad, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Saturday that no such incident took place in Pakistan. The Central Intelligence Agency has declined to comment, and a U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan could not confirm the reports.

Several American television networks say an unmanned aircraft operated by the CIA launched an attack that killed Haitham al-Yemeni in a remote part of northwestern Pakistan.

ABC television reported that U.S. officials decided to strike because they feared al-Yemeni was about to go into hiding, after the recent capture in Pakistan of another terrorist suspect, Abu Faraj al-Libbi.

The C-I-A used an unmanned aircraft in November 2002 to blow up a vehicle in Yemen. That strike killed six al-Qaida suspects, including Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, a close associate of Osama bin Laden.

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