A suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan has killed a senior al-Qaida leader who was considered one of the group’s most powerful figures in the region.
Statements posted on several jihadist websites say Khaled Bin Abdel Rahman al-Hussainan, the al-Qaida leader commonly known as Abu Zaid, was killed on Thursday or Friday in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region near the Afghan border.
Tribal sources say he had just moved to a hideout in the region a few days earlier.
Pakistan has repeatedly criticized U.S. drone attacks as a violation of its sovereignty.
During a Thursday meeting with U.S. ambassador Richard Olson, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said the attacks were counterproductive and urged alternative means to eliminate terrorists. U.S. officials have said the strikes are an important tool in defeating militants.
Separately, President Asif Ali Zardari has visited Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who has been recovering in a British hospital after she was shot in the head for speaking out against the Taliban.
A VOA reporter says Zardari spent about a half hour Saturday with the teenager and her family at a hospital in Birmingham. Also, doctors briefed the Pakistani president on her condition.
The Associated Press of Pakistan says Zardari will attend a global event in Paris on Monday to honor Malala. The news agency says he will also discuss bilateral issues with French President Francois Hollande. President Zardari is on a tour that will also take him to Turkey.