Pakistan: Strike Killed 4 Terrorists

Pakistani protesters hold placards as they shout anti-U.S. slogans during a protest rally to condemn the purported CIA air-strike that killed 17 people, Monday, Jan. 16, 2006 in Karachi, Pakistan.
At least four foreign terrorists died in the U.S. airstrike on a Pakistani border village that was purportedly aimed at al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, the provincial government said Tuesday.

A statement by the administration of the Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan also said that between 10 and 12 foreign extremists had been invited to dinner at the village hit in Friday's attack.

Pakistani officials have said Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, was invited to a dinner in the village to mark an Islamic holiday but did not show up and sent some aides instead.

Meanwhile, a threatening phone call that forced the United Nations to close offices in southwestern Pakistan said al Qaeda would attack the world body's offices there, the top U.N. official in Pakistan said Tuesday.

The phone call was received Monday by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, and the United Nations closed all offices in the southwestern province of Baluchistan on that day and Tuesday, said Jan Vandemoortele, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan.

"Al Qaeda was mentioned twice in the phone call," Vandemoortele said. "It was found to be a credible threat."

The airstrike strained ties with a key U.S. ally in the war on terror and could provoke more anti-American fanaticism in Pakistan, analysts say.

Friday's alleged CIA mission in the Bajur tribal region, which Pakistani officials say missed its target and killed 17 people including women and children, also undermined the fragile goodwill cultivated in Pakistan by generous U.S. relief in the wake of October's earthquake that killed over 80,000 people.

"This will consolidate anti-American sentiment," said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general and political analyst.