Pakistani officials say a senior al-Qaida member has been killed in a northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, but it is unclear exactly how he died.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, speaking in Kuwait on Saturday, confirmed that Egyptian-born Abu Hamza Rabia was killed in North Waziristan Thursday.
Pakistani officials say Mr. Rabia was a senior al-Qaida operations commander, and one of the top five members of the terror group. They say he was killed with four other people in a large explosion sparked by bomb-making material.
Residents in the rugged mountainous area are quoted as saying they saw unmanned aircraft firing on the militant hideout. Media reports quote unnamed officials as saying Mr. Rabia was targeted in an air strike.
Tens of thousands of Pakistani forces are deployed in the semi-autonomous region, which borders Afghanistan, searching for al-Qaida and Taleban militants.