Pakistan says investigating al-Qaeda members killing reports
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Jan 20, IRNA
Pakistan Information Minister said on Thursday that media reports about the killing of four top al-Qaeda members in a U.S. missile strike last week in the country's tribal region are being investigated.
Pakistan Dawn newspaper reported that two senior al-Qaeda members were killed in U.S air strike in Bajur tribal region on Friday, which also killed 18 people, including women and children.
Reports said that those foreigners killed including an explosives expert Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar and Abdul Rehman al-Maghribi, son in law of al-Qaeda No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
"I can not confirm the death of Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar unless it is confirmed to me by concerned authorities," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told Geo television.
"We have said that a few foreigners were killed in the incident but their dead bodies were been taken away by their companions," Rashid said.
"Foreign media is reporting names of some people and we are investigating," he said.
The investigations have not yet been completed and it may take some more time, the Minister said.
Reports said that Midhat Mursi, 52, an Egyptian, was among the four top al-Qaeda figures who were in Damadola village at the time of the attack and whose bodies were believed to have been taken away by sympathizers.
"We have information that bodies of three to five foreigners have been taken away and I can not say anything at the moment," the Information Minister said.
Local administrative officer in Bajur has also claimed that bodies of four or five foreigners were removed by their local sympathizers soon after the attack.
Member National Assembly from Bajur Sahibzada Haron ur Rashid rejected the government claim and media reports about the killing of foreigners and said only locals died in the attack.
Reports about the killing of foreigners are being spread to mislead the public opinion to cool down anger among the local people, he said.
The U.S had offered $5 million for information leading to Umar's arrest.
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