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Top Al-Qaida Operative Killed in Pakistan


An Islamist Website and U.S. officials say a senior al-Qaida commander based in Afghanistan has been killed in Pakistan.

The al-Qaida-affiliated site, Al-Ekhlass, posted a message Thursday announcing the death of Abu Laith al-Libi. He is one of the top al-Qaida operatives in Afghanistan. The message, which called Libi a "martyr," did not give a cause of death.

A U.S. government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Libi was killed in an airstrike earlier this week on Monday or Tuesday.

Libi is believed to be linked to a fatal bombing at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan during a visit by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney last February. Twenty-three people were killed in that attack.

The United States had designated Libi a wanted terrorist and had placed a $200,000 bounty on his head.

Pakistani security officials reported earlier that at least 12 suspected al-Qaida militants were killed during a Monday airstrike in Pakistan's North Waziristan region, near the Afghan border.

Those officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a suspected U.S. missile was used in the strike. However, it is not clear who fired the missile.

In the past, some aerial attacks along the border have been attributed to U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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