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US strike in Pak kills British militant

Pakistani television channels reported that Rashid Rauf, a British Islamist militant with Al Qaeda links, was killed along with an Egyptian militant by a US missile strike in the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan on Saturday.

world Updated: Nov 22, 2008 23:51 IST

Pakistani television channels reported that Rashid Rauf, a British Islamist militant with Al Qaeda links, was killed along with an Egyptian militant by a US missile strike in the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan on Saturday.

Both Geo News and AryOneWorld channels reported Rauf was among five victims of an attack launched by a suspected US pilotless drone aircraft.

Intelligence officers in the region, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Rauf, who escaped from custody outside an Islamabad court last December, had been killed, though there was no official confirmation.

They named the dead Egyptian as Abu Zubair al-Masri. Arab casualties are usually taken as a sign of an Qaeda presence.

Arrested in Pakistan in August 2006, Rauf was identified as a key figure in a plot to blow up airliners travelling from London to the United States using liquid explosives.

Rauf, who is of Pakistani origin, had travelled to Pakistan in 2002 after the murder of an uncle in Britain.

His extradition was originally sought by Britain in connection with the murder.

During his time in Pakistan, Rauf married a relative of one of Pakistan’s most notorious militant leaders, Azhar Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish-e-Mohammad. While Jaish has been principally focussed on fighting in Kashmir, some splinter groups joined Al Qaeda’s cause.