Drone attack kills top militant

Mullah Nazir.

ISLAMABAD — Senior Pakistani militant leader Mullah Nazir has been killed by a US drone strike, security officials say.

He died with at least five fighters when two missiles struck his vehicle in the north-west tribal district of South Waziristan, they said.

He was the leader of one of four major militant factions in Pakistan, accused of sending fighters to back the Afghan Taliban and fight foreign troops there.

Mullah Nazir is one of the most high-profile insurgents killed by drones.

He had survived a suicide bomb attack blamed on rival militants in November.

Last night’s drone strike targeted him as he and his fighters prepared to swap to a new vehicle after his pick-up developed a fault, reports said.

It took place in Angoor Adda, near South Waziristan’s main town of Wana, close to the Afghan border.

Reports say Mullah Nazir’s deputy, Ratta Khan, was also killed in the attack.

Officials also said four militants were killed in a separate attack in North Waziristan, but their identities are not known.

Presidential approval?

Local residents were quoted as saying that they heard on mosque loudspeakers announcements that Mullah Nazir was dead. Funeral prayers were said for him oday.

Mullah Nazir’s group is one of several militant factions operating in Pakistan’s restive north-west – in recent years there have been divisions among these groups.

Analysts say Mullah Nazir had formed an alliance with the government and opposed the Pakistani Taliban, with whom he was at odds because he favoured attacking US forces in Afghanistan rather than Pakistani soldiers. (BBC)

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