US missile strike in Pakistan 'kills' alleged transatlantic plane bombing plotter

Other News Materials 22 November 2008 19:06 (UTC +04:00)

Rashid Rauf, a dual citizen of Britain and Pakistan, suspected of involvement in a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners, was killed in an US missile strike in Pakistan's tribal region on Saturday, local TV channels reported, IRNA reported.

Rauf, who was arrested in 2006, fled from police custody in December last year after a court appearance in Pakistan.

Many Pakistani TV channels reported that Rauf was among five people killed by a suspected US missile strike in North Waziristan region.

TV channels reported that al-Qaeda operative Abulmasar Al-Misri was also killed in the Saturday's attack.

However, there has been no independent confirmation of the news.

The authorities have not commented on the report.

In Islamabad, Rauf's lawyer Hashmat Habib he is trying to check the report.

Lawyer had earlier disputed police claim of Rauf escape.

Residents said that the US drone fired missiles on a home in Alikhel village in volatile North Waziristan, a region near the Afghan border where Pakistani troops have battled pro-Taliban fighters.

TV channels reported that six other people were also injured in the fresh US attack on the house of Khaliq Nawaz.

The house was completely destroyed.

Villagers in Alikhel said that, after the missile strike, local Taliban fighters quickly cordoned off the home that had been targeted.

US has stepped up missile attacks in Pakistani tribal regions despite strong protest by the government.

Attacks from US drones have expanded attacks from the tribal regions to administrative area and on Wednesday launched strike in Bannu district in the northwest.

US envoy was summoned on Thursday over the Bannu attack as the prime minister strongly condemned such attacks in his parliament speech.

Rauf was arrested in Bhawalpur, Pakistan in connection with the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot in August 2006, a day before some arrests were made in Britain.

The former Pakistani interior minister, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, had claimed that 'he is an al Qaeda operative with linkages in Afghanistan'.

In December 2006 the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi found no evidence that he had been involved in terrorist activities, and his charges were downgraded to forgery and possession of explosives.