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Key al Qaeda member killed in U.S. drone strike

GENERIC pakistan missile drone strike
GENERIC pakistan missile drone strike CBS/AP

A militant affiliated with al Qaeda was killed in one of two U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan last week, according to a U.S official, Reuters reported.

American and Pakistani sources told Reuters that Aslam Awan, a Pakistani national, was the target and that the strike took place on Jan. 10. Awan was reportedly killed in a compound near by Miranshah.

Awan -- who hailed from Abbottabad, where Osama bin Laden was killed in a covert U.S. raid in May -- was described as a major person in the remaining leadership of al Qaeda. One source characterized Awan as a chief of external operations.

Officials in Pakistan could not confirm that Awan was killed in the drone attack. However, the American official substantiated Awan's death.

"Aslam Awan was a senior al Qaeda external operations planner who was working on attacks against the West," said an American official. His death reduces al Qaeda's thinning bench of another operative devoted to plotting the death of innocent civilians."

According to Reuters, the attack ended an eight-week break in attacks by unmanned armed drones that is an important part of President Obama's counter-terrorism plan.

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