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Mullah Nazir Killed In Pakistan By US Drone
A senior Pakistani militant leader has been killed by a US drone strike in Pakistan, local officials have said.
Mullah Nazir, who had sent insurgents to fight in Afghanistan, died alongside nine other militants in Pakistan's tribal belt.
He was the main militant commander in South Waziristan, part of the tribal zone where militants linked to the Taliban and al Qaeda have bases.
He is one of the most high-profile drone victims in recent years.
Pakistani officials said a US drone fired two missiles at his vehicle in the Sar Kanda area of Birmil in South Waziristan, and five of his loyalists including two senior deputies were also killed.
"Mullah Nazir and five associates died on the spot," one of the officials said.
The official said the attack happened at 10.35pm local time on Wednesday, but that it took time to confirm the reports from the far-flung and mountainous area along the Afghan border.
Another Pakistani official said Nazir and his fighters were targeted as they prepared to swap vehicles when their pick-up encountered a mechanical fault.
Two of his influential deputies, Atta Ullah and Rafey Khan, were among those killed, the official added.
In the neighbouring district of North Waziristan, two more missiles fired from a US drone killed four other militants on Thursday but their identities are not yet known.
Nazir was wounded in a suicide attack in South Waziristan on November 29 and had survived previous attempts on his life.
In April 2007 he gave a rare news conference at which he said he had never met Osama bin Laden but would protect him if asked.
Covert US drone strikes are publicly criticised by the Pakistani government as a violation of sovereignty, but American officials believe they are a vital weapon in the war against Islamist militants.