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Top Al-Qaida Leader Killed in Pakistan


Pakistan says a senior, Egyptian-born al-Qaida leader has been killed in a mountainous tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials say Abu Hamza Rabia was al-Qaida's senior international operations commander.

Officials say the militant leader was one of five militants killed Thursday in the North Waziristan tribal region, where Pakistani forces are engaged in anti-terror operations.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf confirmed Rabia's death while talking to reporters during a visit to Kuwait Saturday.

"Two-hundred percent confirmed," he said. " It was in North Waziristan Agency. I think he was killed the day before yesterday."

There are conflicting reports about how exactly Hamza Rabia died.

Pakistani officials say he was killed by an explosion sparked by bomb-making materials stored inside the militants' hideout.

However, local residents are reported as saying they saw an unmanned aircraft fire a series of missiles into the mud house.

In May, Hamza Rabia's associate and former al-Qaida operations chief, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, was captured in the same region close to the Afghan border.

U.S. officials have suggested al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden may also be in the same area.

Pakistan has some 80,000 troops stationed along the border area in a massive hunt for al-Qaida and Taleban militants.

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